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Archive for November, 2018

29 November
Comments Off on Millions for WA infrastructure projects

Millions for WA infrastructure projects

Western Australia has benefited from infrastructure commitments in this year’s federal budget, with Treasurer Wayne Swan allocating $500 million over 10 years to help in the delivery of a major public transport project for Perth.
Nanjing Night Net

As part of his $100 billion nationwide infrastructure blueprint, the Treasurer has committed to funding big projects around the country.

For WA, the budget stipulates that either the Perth Light Rail project or the construction of a new link to the city’s airport will be funded.

The Government is also investing $900.1 million in Western Australia’s regions through the Regional Infrastructure Fund, including $418.3 million for the Swan Valley Bypass and $307.8 million to improve the Great Northern Highway between Muchea and Wubin.

The 40km Swan Valley Bypass will have dual carriage highway for 15kms and single carriageway for 25 kilometres.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said $25.3 million would be brought forward to kickstart the project.

“We know there’s more to be done, but this government is making the right decisions for the nation’s future and across the length and breadth of Western Australia, building the infrastructure that will stand the test of time,” he said.

In delivering his budget speech to parliament todayt, Mr Swan said the Federal Government would partner with the private sector and state governments to deliver critical infrastructure projects around the country.

“These investments will boost productivity, build capacity, improve safety and relieve congestion,” he said.

“As well as improving the quality of life in our communities across the nation.”

One of Premier Colin Barnett’s major state election promises was the Swan Valley Bypass, but he is struggling to fund his election commitments thanks to dwindling coffers.

He committed $196 million towards the project at the state election, but he will have to match the Federal Government’s pledge if he wants to see the bypass built.

Other WA infrastructure projects earmarked in the budget include upgrades to Tonkin Highway, leach Highway and the North West Coastal Highway.

This year’s funding will also enable work to be completed on re-routing the Great Northern Highway to the north of Port Hedland’s Wedgefield industrial estate and untangling rail and road access to Esperance Port.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Mining tax revenue slumps

Mining tax revenue slumps

Revenue targets for the Gillard government’s mining tax have been downgraded yet again, with Treasury now expecting just over $200 million from the controversial measure this financial year.
Nanjing Night Net

The new downgrade means net receipts from the tax will be just 10 per cent of the $2 billion that was forecast in October, a figure that was itself a downgrade from the $3 billion predicted at the May 2012 budget.

The trend will spread through the forward estimates, and the tax will now be in its fourth year before that $2 billion figure is passed.

The government has shaved $1.7 billion of its expectations for the 2014 financial year to just $700 million, with a further $1 billion in revenue tipped for 2015.

Instead of raising $13.4 billion over its first four years, as predicted in last year’s budget, the tax will raise just $3.3 billion.

The mining tax has been hampered by the recent cooling of commodity prices and mining companies’ use of massive tax deductions.

The latter issue has caught Treasury by surprise, with the Australian Tax Office launching an investigation into how companies like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are calculating those deductions.

But the government remained optimistic that the tax would work in the long run, given that capital spending by miners was easing and exports were poised to grow significantly.

The budget papers predicted iron ore exports would rise by about 40 per cent over the next four years.

As expected the budget contained measures to tighten the rules on exploration deductions for miners, in a move that is likely to prompt anger within the industry.

The changes are worth $1.1 billion to the government over four years, and are designed to avoid penalising junior miners conducting greenfields exploration.

The changes will have the most impact on companies that purchase a tenement that has previously been explored, by excluding the purchase price of the mining right and certain intangible elements like knowledge from being claimed.

The government appears to be well aware that the change could spark another stoush with the resources industry, and stressed in the budget papers that the government would ‘‘consult closely with industry on the design and implementation of the measure’’.

‘‘This measure will improve the sustainability of this important concession, which recognises that resources exploration is a vital and economically risky activity that has spillover benefits to the economy,’’ the budget papers said.

Fears the diesel fuel rebates could be targeted again proved unfounded, with no direct changes  to the 32 cent rebate.

But changes to the carbon price could see some slight, indirect, fluctuations in the diesel fuel rebate.

The clean coal sector was one of the clear losers out of the budget, with four separate programs suffering cuts.

Carbon capture and storage programs suffered $500 million worth of cuts over three years, the low emissions coal initiative was cut by $88.2 million over two years and the coal sector jobs package lost $274 million over two years, while a $29 million cut was delivered to coal mining abatement technology spending over two years.

The government will also introduce cash bidding for offshore oil and gas permits in areas with a developed oil and gas industry.

The new system is expected to raise $160 million for the government between 2015 and 2017.

The resources and energy industry will get a new ‘‘councillor’’ based in Beijing to help foster relations between the sector and Chinese authorities.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Carbon price slide hits green schemes

Carbon price slide hits green schemes

The government has cut $370 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Photo: Justin McManusThe more than halving of the carbon price to  just $12 a tonne, Treasury predicts, will cost the budget $2.1 billion before Australia links with the European emissions trading scheme in 2015.
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The steeper than expected slide – blamed on ‘‘profound economic weakness in Europe’’ – will cut $6 billion from carbon tax revenue and result in massive adjustments to spending and cuts to renewable energy subsidies and industry assistance.

In a move that is likely to anger the Greens, the government has cut $370 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency  and spread it over a further two years.

The $3 billion agency, responsible for providing grants for clean power such as solar and wind, will have  its spending power fall by $200 million before the introduction of an ETS.

Likewise, the Biodiversity Fund – established to protect native species from climate change – will have  funding “redirected”. It has been cut from $946 million over six years to $1 billion over eight years.

The money will be funnelled into ‘‘other government priorities’’ but some will go to the recently sealed Tasmanian forestry agreement. The fund was established to promote reforestation, revegetation and other carbon store initiatives.

The clean technology program has also been “reprofiled” to the tune of $58 million over a longer timeframe. It will now provide $1.2 billion over seven years.

Financial support for carbon-intensive industries will also be slashed.

A $1.5 billion program to support low-emission coal and carbon storage has been discontinued and  $662 million in uncommitted funds will be returned to the budget.

The coal industry will receive $274 million less over the four-year forward estimates.

The government will hold back $135 million in assistance to regions, saying no region has been “strongly, negatively affected by the introduction of the carbon price”. That includes steel-producing Whyalla in South Australia, which Opposition Leader Tony Abbott famously predicted would be wiped off the map under a carbon tax.

As a result of the funding cuts and $3.9 billion in free permits that no longer have to be funded, the government predicts the net impact will be “broadly budget neutral” over the four years to July 1, 2015. But it will cost the underlying cash balance $1 billion over that period.

The budget papers forecast the carbon price to fall from $25.40 in 2014-15 to $12.10 in 2015-16. Even that could prove optimistic, with the European price currently less than half that level.

As flagged by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet, tax cuts – worth about $1.59 a week for people earning up to $80,000 a year – will be deferred until the carbon price rises above $25.40. That will save the government $1.5 billion.

Treasury insists the carbon price is working, with emissions from the national electricity market down by 7.7 per cent.

“Already renewable energy generation is up 30 per cent in the financial year to date,” the budget papers said.

The government has promised that if the carbon price is higher than expected when the nation moves to an ETS, it will prioritise investments in land and biodiversity programs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on Benji benched as Tigers try new tactic

Benji benched as Tigers try new tactic

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – MAY 05: Benji Marshall of the Tigers looks on during the round nine NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Wests Tigers at Skilled Park on May 5, 2012 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images) Photo: Matt RobertsStar playmaker Benji Marshall will start on the bench as the Wests Tigers try to avoid recording the worst losing streak in the club’s history against the table-topping Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Nanjing Night Net

Fairfax Media understands coach Mick Potter will use Marshall in the halves when he injects him into the match against South Sydney, ending speculation the 28-year-old could make the shock move to fullback with his side staring down the barrel of their seventh successive defeat.

”Benji’s had some enormous setbacks in his life, which include shoulder reconstructions, knee injuries and his latest being the toe injury,” Marshall’s manager, Martin Tauber, said.

”It’s never stopped him performing before. If people think that he won’t come back bigger, stronger, better and more highly motivated, they’d be totally mistaken. He’s an exceptional footballer, he admits his confidence is down, let’s wait and see.”

The situation comes at a sensitive time, with the Tigers board due to discuss and possibly ratify a new five-year deal worth $4 million for Marshall this month. Potter has stamped his authority by making a decision that hasn’t been made at the club for seven years.

The last time Marshall came off the bench for the Tigers was back in round 10 in 2006, but that was a precautionary measure as he was coming back from injury.

He was last dumped from the starting side in round seven of 2005 following a 44-20 hammering by the Cowboys.

It is not the first time Potter has sent shockwaves through the club with his stern decisions.

He took skipper Robbie Farah, who is an 80-minute player, from the field against the Sea Eagles in the first half of their round-four clash in Gosford earlier this year.

Marshall conceded in The Sun-Herald on Sunday his form wasn’t up to the standards he sets of himself, and his lacklustre opening to his 11th NRL season has forced Potter to experiment in a bid to help him rediscover his mojo.

Marshall trained in the halves on Tuesday morning alongside Sironen, but isn’t expected to be injected into the match until mid-way through the first half, with Fulton to move into the forwards to accommodate Marshall’s entry.

”I didn’t expect it – there’s been plenty of talk around that Benji might be shifted but I didn’t think it would be to the bench,” Peter Sterling said on Triple M.

”It’s a bold move but they are in a position where the coach has to be fairly bold.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

29 November
Comments Off on ‘Sad day: the bump is dead’

‘Sad day: the bump is dead’

James Kelly will miss games against Collingwood and Port Adelaide.
Nanjing Night Net

I’m not a dirty player: Betts

Favourable evidence from Brendon Goddard has not swayed the tribunal to overturn a two-match ban for James Kelly, whose bump felled him last weekend. Soon after the verdict was revealed, Cats’ captain Joel Selwood declared on Twitter: ”Sad day … the bump is dead!”

Geelong fought the ban for rough conduct against midfielder Kelly on the basis there was not any forceful high contact to Essendon’s Goddard, as was alleged by the match review panel.

Kelly’s evidence to the tribunal that his impact was solely to the Bomber’s chest and shoulder was corroborated by Goddard, who the Cats successfully requested give evidence.

Giving evidence by phone, Goddard said he had been ”quite shocked” by the impact from Kelly because he had not been expecting it but stressed he had suffered nothing untoward.

”My recollection is he hit me across the top of the chest and the shoulder region,” he said.

Under questioning from tribunal counsel Jeff Gleeson SC he reiterated that stance – ”it [impact] wasn’t to my head or neck” – but said he had not properly seen any footage of the incident since the match which, Gleeson alleged, proved there was forceful high contact to Goddard.

@joelselwood14 I worked that out the hard way in Round 23 last year. Bloke got up took the free kick and I got 8 weeks down to 6.— Campbell brown (@Browndogg_30x) May 14, 2013

Asked about a subsequent gesture in which Goddard appeared to check whether he was bleeding from the mouth after the incident, which would have alluded to high contact, the Bombers midfielder said he was actually checking for saliva.

Kelly’s defence counsel, Peter Murdoch, QC, declared to the jury that Goddard had provided ”the best evidence one can have”, and had no ulterior motives for doing so. ”This is no concession being made by a mate or friend,” he said of Goddard’s evidence.

The tribunal jury of Richard Loveridge, Wayne Henwood and Emmett Dunne took six minutes to rule that despite the players’ evidence there had been forceful high contact from Kelly to Goddard.

Neither Kelly nor Geelong football department chief Neil Balme made any comment.

Carlton’s Eddie Betts has accepted a three-match ban and will

return for the Blues’ mid-season clash with arch rival Essendon.

An adverse medical report from St Kilda on youngster Nathan Wright’s jaw after a bump from Betts on Monday night triggered a base suspension of five matches for rough conduct. The discount is due to his good record and a guilty plea.

Betts apologised to Wright via Facebook. ”Just wanted to say sorry to Nathan Wright from St Kilda,” Betts wrote. ”I’m not a dirty player and I never intended to hurt him, just stop his run. Wish him a speedy recovery and hope surgery goes well … just gotta cop it on the chin now and do my time.”

A dazed Wright had to be substituted in the third quarter of Monday night’s match at Etihad Stadium after he was collected by Betts.

Betts clearly jumped into the Saints player and the bump was graded as reckless conduct, high contact and severe impact.

St Kilda midfielder Jarryn Geary was investigated but ultimately cleared over his bump on Carlton captain Marc Murphy.

Collingwood’s Heath Shaw accepted a one-match ban for striking Fremantle’s Hayden Ballantyne and will miss Saturday night’s match against Geelong. Melbourne’s Colin Sylvia accepted a three-match striking ban.

Melbourne’s Chris Dawes, Port Adelaide’s Jay Schulz, GWS’ Rhys Palmer and Western Bulldogs’ Liam Picken also accepted reprimands for striking.

Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell said he thought the Kelly incident was a “fair hit”.

While he praised the AFL stamping out violence and introducing rules with the intention of protecting players, Sewell said certain physical elements of the game – such as the traditional shirtfront – needed to be preserved.

“There’s no doubt that the crowd love it, and we love it as players. There is nothing better than hitting someone flush, and there is no malice in it, there’s no high contact. But it’s a great feeling,” he said on Fox Footy.

Sewell said teammates such as Lance Franklin and Brent Guerra have had to change their approach to bumping.

With Matt Murnane

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.