AMEC Convention 2013

The AMEC Convention 2013 will be held from 3 – 4 September at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. Organised by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC), Australia’s peak industry body for mineral exploration and mining, the AMEC Convention 2013 is the key industry event in Australia.

This year the AMEC Convention will present The Case for Confidence in mineral exploration and mining, tapping into the current discussions on the future of the industry. It is a must attend event, bringing together a diverse range of industry leaders to speak on current topics and issues facing the mineral exploration and mining industry.

AMEC CEO Simon Bennison said, “We have chosen topics that will help the industry and service providers stay abreast in the current market. Mining in Australia is currently feeling the effects of an uncertain global market, downturns in commodity prices and difficulties raising capital. This year’s AMEC Convention will set the policy agenda and provide helpful advice on operating in the current climate”.

We are pleased to announce the keynote speakers this year include the following industry and government professionals:

  • Hon Gary Gray, Minister for Resources and Energy, Small Business and Tourism, Australian Government
  • Hon Bill Marmion, Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Western Australian Government.
  • David Murray, Former Chairman, Future Fund
  • Senator Mathias Cormann, Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Australian Government
  • Michael Deegan, National Infrastructure Coordinator, Infrastructure Australia
  • Hon Willem Westra van Holthe, Minister for Mines and Energy, Northern Territory Government
  • Hon Chris Hartcher, Minister for Resources and Energy, New South Wales Government
  • Elmer Funke Kupper, Managing Director and CEO, ASX Group

The two day event will also feature a large exhibition area with a range of small and emerging mining companies, junior mineral exploration companies and service providers to the industry. This is a great networking opportunity and has been well received with positive feedback year on year.

This year we are also offering a pre-convention workshop on Monday 2 September 2013 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Opportunity Australia Workshop will provide an introduction to Australian mineral exploration and mining.

Featuring a number of high profile industry experts and covering a broad range to topics, this is an ideal workshop for retail or overseas investors and anyone new to the mining and exploration industry.

Some of the key topics covered in this workshop will include Australian Security Exchange Rules, JORC Code, Australian Tax Implications, Australian Land Access, Australian Geology and Workforce & Skills.

The AMEC Convention 2012 was a great success with over 900 registered delegates and 100 exhibition booths. This is an exceptional growth on the previous year and highlights the increasing support for this event year on year.

For more information about the AMEC Convention 2013 or to register today, visit www.amecconvention.com.au

Reducing resources red tape in QLD

The Association of Mining & Exploration Companies (AMEC) is pleased to see the Queensland Government has listened to the needs of explorers and miners in reducing the complexity and bureaucracy involved with the environmental impact statement process.

“The new simplified terms of reference focus on the critical matters and remove overly prescriptive and duplicate requirements. This will reduce the cost of preparing EIS statements and help increase investment in Queensland’s resources sector,” said Bernie Hogan, AMEC Regional Manager.

“Even though the paperwork involved has been reduced, environmental standards will not change which is certainly a win:win for industry and communities.

“Communities will also have greater say in how companies ‘give back’ through Local Area Infrastructure Plans. This gives companies confidence they are participating in community endorsed projects to improve the area they operate in.

“These changes should allow companies to focus on what really matters to their communities, rather than be tied into standardised systems that suited neither the community or the company.

“While this is a good start to reducing the red tape in duplication and cost of approvals, much more is needed to have a significant impact on the industry.

“These changes will now be road-tested by industry to assess the improvements in the EIS process,” said Bernie Hogan.

Carbon tax changes don’t go far enough

“Media statements that the Federal Government is considering changes to the carbon tax package indicate that the proposal doesn’t go far enough”, said Simon Bennison, Chief Executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC).

“AMEC has consistently stated that the carbon tax was a step change in public policy in isolation of global action, and that it would impose significant costs and inflationary pressures to Australian businesses, consumers and the economy.

“That view still remains even if Australia moves to an emissions trading scheme and a floating price earlier than planned.

“The cost imposts on industry of the Clean Energy Future Plan, which commenced on 1 July 2012, are significant and need to be removed in order to restore some of the lost international competitiveness that Australian mining companies are currently faced with.

“There is no doubt that the Clean Energy Future Plan should be rescinded in full. In doing so, the part removal of the diesel fuel credit arrangements should be re-instated to pre-carbon tax levels as soon as possible.

“This will go a long way to recovering some of the lost competitiveness that has occurred over the past few years, as a direct consequence of this and other public policy announcements targeting the Australian mineral exploration and mining sector. These announcements have also dented much needed investor and banking confidence in the industry.

“Diesel fuel is a major business input as it is a primary source of energy for mining and exploration companies, representing 4-7% on typical mining projects. The cost is however more pronounced for smaller miners and mineral exploration companies, who in many cases have no other option than use diesel fuel for their essential energy requirements.

“If the Federal Government is admitting that it got it wrong, it should rescind the Clean Energy Future Plan in its entirety and re-instate the diesel fuel tax credit in full”, said Mr Bennison.

Federal environmental reform essential

There has been renewed focus on streamlining the approvals process by the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and WA Premier Colin Barnett, who are calling for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to reverse the abandoned Labor promise to streamline the environmental approval process.

Streamlining the approvals process is an initiative that has been recommended and actively promoted by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) which has been working with state and federal Governments to initiate this reform.

“The range, number and complexity of approvals processes are constantly increasing, resulting in unnecessary delays, additional costs and taxpayer revenue foregone,” said AMEC CEO, Simon Bennison.

“Industry continues to request a more streamlined and efficient approvals system, whilst ensuring that environmental, cultural heritage, native title and community values are not compromised.

“The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has acknowledged that considerable Federal Government resources can be saved by delegating its assessment and approval powers under the EPBC Act to accredited State and Territory Governments under the existing bi-lateral agreement process. This will create a single point of contact for environmental approvals.

“Expanding the existing bi-lateral agreements, by the Federal Government delegating its approval powers to accredited State and Territory Governments, is fundamental to maintaining momentum on projects that are contributing to economic growth, job creation and ensuring future investment in Australia.

“This needs to be back on the table as a key policy issue for the next term of Government to remove the current significant duplications and additional layers of approval required by the EPBC Act, whilst maintaining high environmental standards,” said Mr Bennison.

More taxes could limit investment in the Northern Territory

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) still has serious concerns over the enacting of the 1% environmental tax in the Northern Territory.

“With the Minister releasing a statement that only a third of more than $6 million dollars raised by the tax will actually be directed to legacy sites, it brings into question the remaining two thirds that will go directly to administration fees,” said Simon Bennison, AMEC CEO.

“To give some certainty to the industry, AMEC seeks a commitment from the Minister to consult with industry on the removal of the tax. It is time for proper consultation to look at all alternatives in addressing legacy sites.

“In the current economic climate, it is inconceivable that a government would seek to add costs to production to fund activities that are provided as business-as-usual in other states.

“Legacy sites resulting from previous Government policies must be addressed by the Government revenue derived from these activities and their royalties. It is hard to see the logic of punishing the current operators.

“AMEC has previously highlighted that the WA Mine Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) model would be the most appropriate solution for the Northern Territory government, industry and the community. The MRF has already received a very positive reception in Western Australia, apparently attracting more than 370 voluntary registrations prior to its 1 July 2013 rollout.

“AMEC is seeking more detail from the Department on the progress this tax will make in improving the environmental outcomes across the Territory.

“It is essential that we remove barriers to doing business in the Northern Territory to encourage investment; not add additional taxes to an increasingly costly industry,” said Mr Bennsion.

Timely commencement of the new Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF)

“The commencement of the new Mining Rehabilitation Fund on 1 July 2013 is a timely and welcome boost for mid tier miners and junior exploration companies in Western Australia”, said Simon Bennison, AMEC CEO.

Following the passage of legislation to create the Mining Rehabilitation Fund (MRF) in late 2012 AMEC has continued to work closely with the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) to ensure a smooth transition, which will ultimately free up cash which is currently being used to support unconditional performance bonds.

From 1 July 2013 eligible companies may voluntarily apply to participate in the MRF and not be required to provide a bond as security to meet their environmental obligations. The MRF will become compulsory for all Mining Act projects from 1 July 2014.

“The MRF has apparently already attracted more than 370 voluntary registrations which is a terrific response by industry and highlights the positive reception this has had already.

“AMEC has been a major supporter and driver of this legislation and has worked closely with the DMP to develop this positive outcome for industry,” said Mr Bennison.

“As a high proportion of existing unconditional performance bonds are cash backed, immediate access to that cash will enable companies to use those funds for operational purposes and expand existing drilling programs.

“Feedback from an information seminar that AMEC conducted yesterday was overwhelmingly positive as it will be a win:win for industry and the environment.

“The challenge is now for other Australian jurisdictions to acknowledge the significant benefits, and introduce it themselves.

“While this is a great starting point, more work is required on the detail of the implementation of this initiative,” said Mr Bennison.

Fairfax Media appoints Darren Goodsir to Editor-In-Chief of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH)

Fairfax Media today announced the appointment of Darren Goodsir as the new Editor-in-Chief of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Goodsir, currently the masthead’s News Director, has been instrumental in the transformation of the SMH newsroom over the past 12 months.

A former editor of Australia’s leading news website, smh.com.au, he takes over as Editor-in-Chief immediately.

He replaces Sean Aylmer, who became the company’s Director, Business Media, last week.

Garry Linnell, Director of News Media at Fairfax, said: “Darren is an outstanding newsroom leader and was a clear choice for the role. He has an instinctive understanding of our audiences and what they expect from the Herald – across all of its publishing platforms.

“He is also an intuitive newsman who has earned an enormous amount of respect from his peers throughout the industry. Everyone knows Darren as the sort of editor who will fiercely defend the independence of the Herald and its journalists.”

Goodsir said he was honoured to take the helm at the Herald at such a pivotal time in the masthead’s history.

“I am honoured to be leading the best newsroom in the country,” he said.

“The SMH has a proud tradition of being an independent source of news and I am committed to giving our readers the very best journalism in the nation.”

Goodsir has been a journalist since 1985 when he left high school to become a copyboy at News Ltd. He served on all the major News mastheads – The Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, and The Australian – before becoming a
police reporter on The Daily Telegraph, where he stayed until 1991.

He spent two years as a press and policy advisor for the NSW Police Commissioner before joining The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, where he was a senior reporter in the lead up to the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from British rule to China.

He joined Fairfax in 1997 on The Sun-Herald, and since then his roles at the The Sydney Morning Herald have included news editor, chief of staff, transport editor, urban affairs editor, and national security reporter, during which time he spent six months in Bali covering the terrorist bombings and their aftermath.

In 2007, he toured the United States and the United Kingdom on an editor’s study tour to examine newsroom integration and the digital future for journalism.

He was also the launch editor of Fairfax’s online opinion site, the National Times.

He has spent much of his career in police and investigative rounds, and published two true-crime novels – one of which, Line of Fire, was used as the basis for the acclaimed ABC TV miniseries Blue Murder.

Darren Goodsir holds a Bachelor of Law from the University of Technology.

Fairfax Media appoints Sean Aylmer as Group Director, Business Media

Fairfax Media’s Managing Director of Australian Publishing Media, Allen Williams, today announced the appointment of Sean Aylmer as Group Director, Business Media.

In announcing the appointment, Mr Williams said: “We are very pleased with Sean’s appointment to the role.“Over his 16-year career with Fairfax, Sean has worked in leadership roles across all the key mastheads. Sean joined Fairfax’s The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) in 1997, having previously worked as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. He has spent the 16 years since then with Fairfax apart from a 12 month period in funds management.

“He takes on his new role having had deep experience with business media. Sean’s first role was with the business section of the SMH writing on banking and economics. This was followed by a period at The Australian Financial Review
(AFR) where he was the economics correspondent in Canberra, then foreign correspondent in New York, banking and finance editor, news editor and managing editor. Sean then spent two years as editor in chief of Fairfax’s BRW magazine, taking it back into profitability.

“Most recently Sean has been editor in chief of the SMH, overseeing the transformation of the newsroom including the shift to digital-first way of working. His period as editor in chief has seen the move to compact, the introduction of the metered model and the introduction of real-time working.

“Garry Linnell, Director, News Media, will also perform the role of acting editor in chief of the SMH until a permanent appointment is made to that role.”

Brett Clegg, previously Group Director, Business Media, has decided to move on from Fairfax.

Tourism Australia signs deal with China Travel Service to boost visitors

Tourism Australia has signed a three year agreement with China’s state-owned enterprise representing the tourism industry, China Travel Service, to promote travel Down Under to its rapidly growing middle classes, particularly those living in ‘secondary cities’.

The two parties will collaborate on a range of co-operative marketing initiatives as well as business and industry development opportunities.  Tourism Australia will also work with CTS to identify investment opportunities in Australia’s tourism industry.

Joint activities are likely to include brand promotion, digital marketing, PR, famils, theme stores and direct mail campaigns. Tourism Australia will also assist in providing ‘Aussie Specialist’ training to CTS’s best agents equipping them to better sell Australian holiday packages to Chinese consumers.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said the new partnership represented the first time Tourism Australia had entered into a strategic agreement of its kind with an international travel agency.

“Distribution is critical to Australia achieving the targets set out in our China 2020 Plan, which is why this agreement with such an established and respected partner as CTS is so important. Their powerful distribution network and customer resources will be invaluable as we seek to expand our marketing footprint beyond Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and target China’s growing middle classes in more of the country’s secondary cities,” Mr McEvoy said.

“We are determined to develop tourism products of the highest quality for the 900,000-plus Chinese visitors expected to visit our country by 2020. CTS has a deep understanding of the market and, through their extensive distribution network, will help us communicate directly with those Chinese consumers that our research show have the desire and means to travel to Australia,” he added. “We made a very conscious decision to launch the latest phase of our There’s nothing like Australia campaign in China. Our research shows that the Chinese have a huge appetite for international travel and the good news is that Australia is at the top of their wish list,” Mr McEvoy said.

He said a key focus for the Australian tourism industry is to develop and promote high quality tourism products, including luxury experiences and specialist tours.

Mr. Xuewu Zhang, Chairman of CTS said: “China is now Australia’s second largest, fastest growing and most valuable international inbound market, with a record 620,000 Chinese visitors spending a record A$4.2 billion in 2012. We believe there is huge potential especially for further growth in leisure tourism.”

The deal between Tourism Australia and CTS was signed in Beijing by Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy, and the China Travel Service Hong Kong Limited (CTS) General Manager Mr Tingshuai Wang, with Tourism Australia Chairman Geoff Dixon and China Travel Service Chairman Xuewu Zhang also in attendance.

It follows the signing of a separate Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Air China earlier this week.

“We now have major strategic marketing agreements with China’s three largest airlines and this latest MoU with CTS marks another significant step forward as we seek to deepen our presence in China and our understanding of this hugely important market,” Mr McEvoy said.

An outline of Tourism Australia’s strategic plan for China is available at www.tourism.australia.com/china.

Tourism Australia partners with Air China to promote tourism

Tourism Australia and Air China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see them work closely together to promote travel to Australia.

The MoU was signed in Beijing by Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy and Air China Senior Vice President Mingyuan Wang, with Tourism Australia Chairman Geoff Dixon and Air China President Jianjiang Cai also in attendance.

Under the three year agreement, the two parties will work together on a range of co-operative marketing initiatives, including advertising, PR, and events aimed at attracting more international visitors from Australia’s most valuable inbound market, China. As part of the deal, Tourism Australia will also provide training to Air China and its agents.

Mr McEvoy said growing aviation services from China was critical in ensuring Australia achieves its Tourism 2020 goal of 900,000 Chinese visitors by the end of the decade.

“This deal provides a strong platform for us to work with Air China to grow aviation services and drive inbound tourism from China. It brings together Australia’s world class tourism resources and Air China’s extensive flight networks, to attract more Chinese visitors to our country,” Mr McEvoy said.

“The signing of this MoU will further foster Air China network expansion into Australia.  Through the cooperation, Air China passengers will be offered a wide variety of travel products and the airline’s global network will also facilitate better tourism exchange for Chinese and foreign travellers,” Mr Wang said.

Australia was the first western country to receive Approved Destination Status (ADS) for Chinese tourists. China is now Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable international inbound market, with A$4.2 billion in overnight expenditure in 2012, a growth of 13% on 2011. Visitor numbers from China grew 16% during 2012, making it the second largest inbound market for Australia after New Zealand.

Currently, Air China has 14 flights each week from Beijing and Shanghai to Sydney and Melbourne.  In high season this will increase to 16 flights per week, with future additional services also being considered.

Air China uses Beijing as the Chinese hub for passengers travelling from other Chinese cities and has recently introduced an express custom service in Sydney and Melbourne airports for First and Business class passengers as well as Platinum members to improve customer service for its passengers.

Tourism Minister encourages industry to post job vacancies

Australia’s Federal Tourism Minister, The Hon Gary Gray AO, MP is encouraging industry to take advantage of the free jobs board created as part of the successful Best Jobs in the World competition. The free and unlimited job postings targeting people coming to Australia for a working holiday are available until 1 March 2014 and have the potential to reach over 1.5 million job seekers per month.

Watch a short video here from Minister Gray and download instructions on how to upload jobs.

Tourism Australia welcomes Air India non-stop flights to Sydney and Melbourne

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy welcomed the decision by Air India to launch direct non stop flights to Sydney and Melbourne – marking a return to the Australian market after 16 years.

“Key to unlocking India’s long term tourism potential is improved air access and capacity. Securing direct flights to Australia is critical to securing a share of the 50 million Indians expected to travel overseas by 2020,” he said.

“Preliminary analysis suggests we’ll need around 345,000 additional seats to meet the expected demand for Australia from India out to 2020. On top of the capacity that already exists, these new, direct services soon to be launched by Air India represent a huge boost in realising the full potential of this important market.

“As with most of our recent aviation success stories, this positive outcome owes much to a team Australia approach. Sydney and Melbourne Airports, Destination New South Wales and Tourism Victoria all deserve great credit for getting this deal done and we look forward to combining our marketing resources to ensure the new services are now aggressively promoted within India,” Mr McEvoy said.

McEvoy said that, under its India 2020 tourism plan, Tourism Australia had already doubled its marketing spend in India this year, and had made creating a sustainable, competitive aviation market between Australia and India one of its key priorities.

Close to 160,000 Indians visited Australia in 2012, spending nearly A$800m. By 2020, Tourism Australia believes the market has the potential to rise in annual value to up to A$2.3 billion and deliver 300,000 annual visitors.

The new ‘triangular’ service, operated by a Dreamliner Boeing 787, will operate between Delhi and the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

The daily service will operate four times a week direct to Sydney, then on to Melbourne; and three times a week direct to Melbourne and on to Sydney.

Air India last operated flights to Australia in 1997.

An updated summary of Tourism Australia’s India 2020 Strategic Plan is available at www.tourism.australia.com/india

Key facts

  • Air India has announced it will launch direct non-stop flights to Sydney and Melbourne – marking a return to the Australian market after 16 years.
  • Close to 160,000 Indians visited Australia in 2012, spending nearly A$800m. By 2020, Tourism Australia believes the market has the potential to rise in annual value to up to A$2.3 billion and deliver 300,000 annual visitors.
  • The new ‘triangular’ service, operated by a Dreamliner Boeing 787, will operate between Delhi and the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
  • The daily service will operate four times a week direct to Sydney, then on to Melbourne; and three times a week direct to Melbourne and on to Sydney.