Submissions


JAPAN-AUSTRALIA ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) strongly endorses the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA) signed on 8 July 2014 in Canberra. It is a high-quality trade agreement that substantially liberalises Australia’s trade with a major economy, increases market access for goods and services, opens up investment opportunities, and links Australia more firmly into evolving regional economic architecture. Japan’s commitments are by far the most liberalising it has negotiated to date with any of its trading partners – a high water mark that its partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations will look to push higher over time. No other option to JAEPA exists at this time to deepen the Australia-Japan economic relationship. Without JAEPA, Australia would gradually lose competitiveness in important sectors of the Japanese market.

SUBMISSION TO THE GREEN PAPER ON DEVELOPING NORTHERN AUSTRALIA

This submission to the Green Paper on Developing Northern Australia provides some background to the minerals industry in the Northern Territory (NT). It then addresses the specific themes of the Green Paper and finishes with the Northern Territory minerals industry high level policy priorities. The submission does not seek to assess all items in the scope of the Green Paper, but focuses on the important role that the mining industry will play in the Developing of the North and specifically the Northern Territory.

Issues Paper and Consultation Regulation Impact Statement on Improving Work Health and Safety Laws.

The Minerals Council of Australia No1thern Territo1y Division (MCA NT) represents Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry in the Northern Territory (NT). The MCA NT’s strategic objective is to advocate public policy and operational practice for a world-class industry that is safe, profitable, innovative, environmentally responsible and attuned to community needs and expectations.
In the NT members represent over 100 individual mining, exploration and related industry companies, which comprise around 20% of the Northern Territory’s gross state product and employ around 4,400
people. The MCA NT supports an approach to regulatory refonn that seeks to reduce the regulatory burden for industry while still making sure that health and safety are the priority. The WHS regime still contains costly and disproportional provisions; that are complex and duplicative; and overly prescriptive. The legislation and regulations are very complex and overly long-winded with small and medium enterprise’s struggling to interpret many aspects. There are also issues around extracting state or territory specific data from industry to industry from national reporting and measurement. This makes it very difficult to track industry or region specific issues of concern, or to trace anomalies in any data sets. MCA NT supports a risk management based approach The Model Work Health and Safety Regulation (Model Regulations), as it is currently drafted, requires duty holders to adopt a risk management approach managing work health and safety set out in Part 3.1. Under Part 3 .1 duty holders are required to identify hazards and manage risks in accordance with the hierarchy of controls. Part 3.1 also deals with the maintenance and review of control measures. Part 3.1 gives duty holders the ramework to identify hazards and manage risk in a manner that meets the standard required by the work health and safety laws and is appropriate to the duty holder’s operation. It does not prescribe the
specific risk controls that must be adopted. The MCA NT agrees this risk management approach 1sropriate and should be retained in the Model Regulations.
MCA NT upports the removal/reduction of provisions duplicating obligations under the Model Act
MCA NT considers that numerous provisions in the Model Regulations essentially duplicate the duties set
out in the Model Act, Part 2, Divisions 2.3 and 4. Specifically, the Primary Duty under the Model Act at
section 19 deals with the maintenance of a safe work environment, plant and structures, the provision of safe
systems of work, the provision of safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances, the
provision of adequate welfare facilities, the provision of information, instruction, training and supervision to
workers, the provision of health monitoring to workers and the monitoring of working conditions.

Australia’s Tax Treaty Negotiation Program

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) is pleased to provide comment on priority countries with which Australia should negotiate Double Tax Agreements (DTAs) and the key outcomes Australia should seek in negotiations. The MCA is the peak industry organisation representing Australia’s exploration, mining and minerals processing industry, nationally and internationally. MCA member companies represent more than 85 per cent of Australia’s annual minerals industry production and a higher share of minerals exports. The MCA believes Australia should have a competitive and comprehensive tax treaty network. DTAs play an important role in facilitating investment, trade, and movement of technology and personnel between countries. The right policy settings are vital to ensuring Australia’s minerals industry can position itself as a premier investment location and stable, secure and cost competitive supplier of minerals resources in an increasingly competitive global market. Effective DTAs are an important means to reduce tax burdens, remove double taxation and increase certainty which help improve investment attractiveness and competitiveness.
Priority countries for tax treaty negotiations
The MCA suggests the government focus on updating a number of existing DTA’s which have not been revisited for some time, and commence negotiations with a number of new DTA partners.
Australian minerals companies hold investments in South American and Asian countries with which Australia does not currently have DTAs. Australia should pursue negotiations with the following countries:
 Brazil;
 Peru;
 Hong Kong;
 Colombia; and
 Mongolia.

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