Junior mining firm hiring 100% local

WITH pressure mounting on mines that hire exclusively fly-in, fly-out workers, a junior firm is hiring 100% local.

As BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, with its Daunia and Caval Ridge coal mines refusing jobs to those living in nearby Moranbah or in the greater Central Queensland region, New Emerald Coal is using an “employ local” policy.

NEC plans to restart mining at the mothballed Blair Athol mine by June 30, after buying it for $1 from multinational giants Rio Tinto last year.

Already it has recruited 120 workers from the surrounding towns of Clermont, Rockhampton and Mackay.

An NEC spokeswoman said it targeted local staff “to ensure that the community in which we operate benefits from employment opportunities if they have the necessary skill-set to fulfil the position”.

BMA employs about 4000 workers at its six mines who live in Central Queensland.

BMA restricted jobs at its two new mines to those in Cairns and south-east Queensland, forcing those desperate for work to relocate into these recruitment zones.

Previously, BMA has said using a “remote workforce” helped the company secure a more diverse set of workers.

The targeted approach is supported by the Queensland Government, with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney describing it as “spreading the wealth” of the resources industry.

Meanwhile, Federal MP George Christensen – who represents Mackay – has previously described the practice as a form of “geographic discrimination” which he said should be illegal.


SMSF: Can you afford not to have a corporate trustee?

With a do-it-yourself super fund administrative penalty regime certain to come into effect from July 1, there is a new reason why DIY funds should have a corporate trustee.

The way the new penalties will be imposed, says AMP SMSF technical specialist Peter Burgess, adds further weight to the benefits of DIY funds having a corporate trustee rather than individual trustees.

Another way of looking at this is DIY funds with individual trustees just over three-quarters of the estimated 515,000 funds – having an extra incentive not to commit any breaches of super rules and regulations that will attract administrative penalties.

If a DIY fund has a corporate trustee with directors – fewer than one in four funds – and the trustee becomes liable to pay an administrative penalty, it will be levied on the trustee as a single entity. However, if the fund has individual trustees, each is likely to be liable to pay the penalty.

For example, says Burgess, if a fund with a two-director corporate trustee fails to prepare financial accounts, a $1700 penalty could be imposed on the body corporate, which the directors must pay between them. But if the trustees are individuals, each individual trustee could incur a $1700 penalty.

Where a fund has two individual trustees, they will be up for a total $3400.

Furthermore, it will be a personal liability on the trustees, which cannot be paid for or reimbursed from the assets of the fund.

As far as the directors of the corporate trustee are concerned, they will also be personally liable for any penalty but they can share the penalty. That said, if one can’t pay for any reason then the other is liable for the lot

The new regime, says Burgess, will have the greatest effect on trustees who have been serial offenders against the super rules. Many have been able to get away with it mainly because of a reluctance by the DIY super regulator, the Australian Taxation Office, to take the court action necessary to impose penalties for breaches.

As far as the administrative penalties that trustees will be up for, there are four that trustees will face, each with fines of $10,200 per trustee.

They will be imposed for such offences as trustees failing to notify the ATO of an event that can have a significant adverse effect on the financial position of their fund, and trustees lending fund money to a member or relative of a fund member or providing any other financial assistance using the resources of the fund. Other major offences with similar $10,200 penalties are trustees borrowing money in an arrangement that fails to satisfy the requirements of a limited-recourse borrowing arrangement and trustee breaches of the in-house asset rules where a fund allows the value of investments to related parties like members and relatives to exceed 5 per cent of the total fund value.

One significant related-party rule that wasn’t introduced in the administration penalty regime, says Burgess, is deliberate actions to breach the rules. Where a trustee intentionally acquires an asset from a related party, knowing the 5 per cent rule will be breached, they could be up for penalties of up to $220,000 or a jail term of up to one year.

The rules for intentional acquisitions provide some flexibility where trustees may have acquired investments that breached the rules unintentionally. They may have, for instance, acquired shares from a related party that were not listed on a stock exchange under a mistaken belief that the rules that allow shares listed on a sharemarket to be acquired from a related party also applied to unlisted shares.

Among offences with $3400 administrative penalties are any failures to comply with the prescribed operating standards for super funds. Examples of this are breaches of the contribution rules where they have to ensure they only accept contributions when allowed to, along with breaches of the rules that require benefits to be preserved until a member satisfies a condition that allows them to be released. Such conditions include reaching the age of 55, where benefits can be taken under the transition to retirement rules, reaching 60, where benefits can be taken when a member retires, and 65 when super can be taken freely with no preservation restriction.

Trustees failing to notify the ATO that the fund has ceased to be a selfmanaged super fund is a another $3400 offence.

There are six offences with $1700per-trustee penalties for major administrative failure, like not preparing financial statements for the fund and retaining records for five years, failing to keep and retain minutes of trustee meetings for 10 years, and not keeping records of changes of trustee for 10 years.

An important $1700 offence for new funds is trustees failing to sign a trustee declaration within 21 days of becoming a trustee, then retaining this declaration for 10 years. Not retaining copies of member reports for 10 years attracts a similar $1700 penalty, as does not retaining elections as required for certain preAugust-1999 investments for the same time.

Breaches that attract penalties of $850 are failing to appoint investment managers in writing, failing to comply with an education direction issued by the ATO, failing to provide information to the ATO in the approved form, and failing to provide statistical information to the ATO when instructed.

Burgess says the aim of the new regime is to impose penalties more appropriate than the current very strict rules where the regulator can declare a fund non-complying, and trustees liable to being banned and funds stripped of half their assets in tax penalties.

Another current major negative is the ATO having to go through a timeconsuming court process to penalise any trustees. The new penalty regime will not require court action, although the ATO will still have to show why trustees will be penalised.

The new regime will have greatest effect on trustees who have been serial offenders.

The Great Developer Wall of China

After the boom following years of explosive growth the economy is slowing down, and there will be casualties.

Shanghai Thousands of small Chinese property developers are expected to collapse over the next two years, as slowing apartment sales and tightening credit markets force rapid consolidation in the once booming sector.

The property slowdown is being mirrored in the steel sector, where the largest private mill in Shaanxi province has reportedly been shut down after failing to repay banks loans.

The prospect of widespread loan defaults across China has spooked global markets in recent weeks and comes as a property developer in the eastern city of Ningbo said it was struggling to repay $US567 million ($626 million) in debt

While analysts believe a cleanout is under way in China’s property and steel sectors, there is no sign at mis stage of credit markets freezing up or rapid home price declines.

“In the last five years, 20,000 property developers have gone broke. I think another 20,000 need to go,” said Hayden Briscoe, the head of Asia Pacific fixed interest at AllianceBernstein.

“It’s another phase of consolidation but I’m not worried about it”

Mr Briscoe said higher interest rates had led to slower property sales, which had placed some developers and steel mills under financial pressure.

The China economist at SocGen, Wei Yao, said continuing loan defaults would not lead to a systemic economic melt-down, as Beijing had the tools to prevent a collapse.

“[The defaults] are a sign that the economic system has problems and economic efficiency has declined,” she said. “But in China the government has the tools to intervene.”

Government efforts to guide property prices lower appear to be working.

A Reuters survey on Tuesday found home prices grew at an annual rate of 8.7 per cent in February. This was slower than January’s 9.6 per cent rise.

The cooling in prices has resulted in slower sales and construction activity.

Home sales across China fell 5 per cent in January and February from a year ago, while in Beijing, sales slumped 46.3 per cent Despite headline grabbing defaults and weak economic data, credit markets in China remain relatively stable.

While volumes in the inter-bank market have dropped away slightly, the benchmark “seven-day reporate” was trading at 2.8 per cent on Tuesday, only slightly higher than 12 months ago.

But volatility has increased. The reporate spiked above 11 per cent in June and then above 8 per cent in December, before settling back below 3 per cent The clean out in the property development sector is being mirrored across the steel industry, helped along by the government’s push to clean up the environment and tackle overcapacity in the economy.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Haixin Steel, the largest privately owned mill in Shaanxi province, failed to pay back its bank loans.

SMSF and USA Bank Accounts?

For those if you who are investing in USA Properties within your SMSFs, you’ll understand that the SIS Act is very strict with compliance and there are only selected banks that you can open an account with for your SMSF. These banks must be regulated and approved by Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), and a full list of valid banks are listed here. In particular for USA bank accounts – see the headings below of Foreign Subsidiary Banks and Branches of Foreign Banks.

List of Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions

The institutions listed on this page are regulated by APRA in accordance with the Banking Act 1959.
This list was last updated on 14 February 2014.
  • Australian-owned Banks
  • Foreign Subsidiary Banks
  • Branches of Foreign Banks
  • Building Societies
  • Credit Unions
  • Other ADIs

    • Specialist Credit Card Institutions
    • Providers of Purchased Payment Facilities
  • Authorised Non-Operating Holding Companies

Australian-owned Banks
  • AMP Bank Ltd
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited
  • Bank of Queensland Limited
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Community CPS Australia Limited (trading as Beyond Bank Australia)
  • Defence Bank Limited
  • Heritage Bank Limited
  • Macquarie Bank Limited
  • mecu Limited (trading as bankmecu)
  • Members Equity Bank Pty Limited
  • National Australia Bank Limited
  • Police Bank Ltd
  • Police Financial Services Limited (trading as BankVic)
  • Police & Nurses Limited (trading as P&N Bank)
  • QT Mutual Bank Limited
  • Rural Bank Limited (a subsidiary of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited)
  • Suncorp-Metway Limited
  • Teachers Mutual Bank Limited
  • Victoria Teachers Limited (trading as Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank)
  • Westpac Banking Corporation

Foreign Subsidiary Banks
  • Arab Bank Australia Limited
  • Bank of China (Australia) Limited
  • Bank of Sydney Ltd
  • Citigroup Pty Limited
  • HSBC Bank Australia Limited
  • ING Direct (the trading name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited)
  • Investec Bank (Australia) Limited
  • Rabobank Australia Limited

Branches of Foreign Banks
  • Banco Santander, S.A.
  • Bank of America, National Association
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Bank of China Limited
  • Bank of Communications Co., Ltd.
  • Bank of Scotland plc
  • Barclays Capital (the trading name of Barclays Bank PLC)
  • BNP Paribas
  • BNP Paribas Securities Services
  • China Construction Bank Corporation
  • Citibank, N.A.
  • Credit Suisse AG
  • Deutsche Bank Aktiengessellschaft
  • First Commercial Bank
  • Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Ltd
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited
  • ING Bank N.V.
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association
  • Korea Exchange Bank Co., Ltd
  • Lloyds Bank plc
  • Mega International Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.
  • Mizuho Bank, Ltd.
  • Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited
  • Portigon AG
  • Rabobank Nederland (the trading name of Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A.)
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • State Bank of India
  • State Street Bank and Trust Company
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
  • Taiwan Business Bank
  • Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Ltd
  • The Bank of New York Mellon
  • The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd
  • The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
  • The Northern Trust Company
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland plc
  • UBS AG
  • United Overseas Bank Limited
  • Woori Bank

Building Societies
  • B & E Ltd
  • Big Sky Building Society Limited
  • Greater Building Society Ltd
  • Hume Building Society Ltd
  • IMB Ltd
  • Maitland Mutual Building Society Limited
  • Newcastle Permanent Building Society Limited
  • The Rock Building Society Limited
  • Wide Bay Australia Ltd

Credit Unions
  • Allied Members Credit Union Ltd
  • Australian Central Credit Union Ltd (trading as People’s Choice Credit Union)
  • Australian Defence Credit Union Limited
  • AWA Credit Union Limited
  • Bananacoast Community Credit Union Ltd
  • Bankstown City Credit Union Ltd
  • Berrima District Credit Union Ltd
  • CAPE Credit Union Limited
  • Central Murray Credit Union Limited
  • Central West Credit Union Limited
  • Circle Credit Co-operative Limited
  • Coastline Credit Union Limited
  • Collie Miners Credit Union Ltd
  • Community Alliance Credit Union Limited
  • Community First Credit Union Limited
  • Community Mutual Ltd
  • Country First Credit Union Ltd
  • Credit Union Australia Ltd
  • Credit Union SA Ltd
  • Dnister Ukrainian Credit Co-operative Limited
  • ECU Australia Ltd
  • EECU Limited
  • Encompass Credit Union Limited
  • Family First Credit Union Limited
  • Fire Brigades Employees’ Credit Union Limited
  • Fire Service Credit Union Limited
  • Firefighters & Affiliates Credit Co-operative Limited
  • First Choice Credit Union Ltd
  • First Option Credit Union Limited
  • Ford Co-operative Credit Society Limited
  • Gateway Credit Union Ltd
  • Goldfields Money Limited
  • Goulburn Murray Credit Union Co-operative Limited
  • Heritage Isle Credit Union Limited
  • Holiday Coast Credit Union Ltd
  • Horizon Credit Union Ltd
  • Hunter United Employees’ Credit Union Limited
  • Intech Credit Union Limited
  • Laboratories Credit Union Limited
  • Latvian Australian Credit Co-operative Society Limited
  • Lithuanian Co-operative Credit Society “Talka” Limited
  • Lysaght Credit Union Ltd
  • MacArthur Credit Union Ltd
  • Macquarie Credit Union Limited
  • Manly Warringah Credit Union Limited
  • Maritime, Mining & Power Credit Union Limited
  • MCU Ltd
  • My Credit Union Limited
  • MyState Financial Limited
  • Newcom Colliery Employees Credit Union Ltd
  • Northern Inland Credit Union Limited
  • Nova Credit Union Limited
  • Old Gold Credit Union Co-operative Limited
  • Orange Credit Union Limited
  • Police Credit Union Limited
  • Pulse Credit Union Limited
  • Qantas Staff Credit Union Limited
  • Quay Credit Union Ltd
  • Queensland Country Credit Union Limited
  • Queensland Police Credit Union Limited
  • Queensland Professional Credit Union Ltd
  • Queenslanders Credit Union Limited
  • Railways Credit Union Limited
  • Select Credit Union Limited
  • Service One Credit Union Limited
  • SGE Credit Union Limited
  • Shell Employees’ Credit Union Limited
  • South West Slopes Credit Union Ltd
  • Southern Cross Credit Union Ltd
  • South-West Credit Union Co-Operative Limited
  • Summerland Credit Union Limited
  • Sutherland Credit Union Ltd
  • Swan Hill Credit Union Limited
  • Sydney Credit Union Ltd
  • The Broken Hill Community Credit Union Ltd
  • The Capricornian Ltd
  • The Gympie Credit Union Ltd
  • The University Credit Society Limited
  • Traditional Credit Union Limited
  • TransComm Credit Co-operative Limited
  • Transport Mutual Credit Union Limited
  • Warwick Credit Union Ltd
  • WAW Credit Union Co-Operative Limited
  • Woolworths Employees’ Credit Union Limited
  • Wyong Shire Credit Union Ltd

Other ADIs
One ADI that provides general banking services which does not fall into the above categories:
  • Cairns Penny Savings & Loans Limited
These companies provide services (e.g. payments clearing) to building societies and credit unions:
  • Australian Settlements Limited
  • Cuscal Limited
  • Indue Ltd

Specialist Credit Card Institutions (SCCIs)
Foreign-owned SCCIs
Locally Incorporated SCCIs

Providers of Purchased Payment Facilities

Authorised Non-Operating Holding Companies
(authorised under subsection 11AA(2) of the Banking Act 1959)

Source: http://www.apra.gov.au/adi/pages/adilist.aspx


Get Your Free Credit File At www.MyCreditFile.com.au

As of March 13th 2014, the new credit reporting system came into place in Australia. We would advise you to order a copy of this new report to familiarize yourselves with it and it’s contents. If there is anything in it that might adversely affect your borrowing at a later date then you may wish to know about it now.

The report can be obtained for free from VEDA


Landlords warned to keep careful records when claiming rental properties as business

A recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision has reminded rental property owners to be particularly careful with record keeping if they claim to be conducting a business of letting rental properties.

In the AAT case, a taxpayer appealed the Australian Taxation Office’s decision that she was not carrying on a business of letting properties and was not entitled to claim certain tax deductions.

The taxpayer worked full-time as an industrial chemist and owned rental properties with her husband. The couple had been investing in property since the 1990s and owned nine properties in the 2003-2005 income years, to which the dispute related.

The taxpayer declared a net rental loss for those years and argued that she carried on a business of letting rental properties.

The AAT sided with the taxpayer in agreeing that she was carrying on a business in letting properties and allowed claims including part of her telephone, computer and work-related expenses.

It refused several other deductions, including car and travel expenses, repairs and maintenance costs, and the costs of investment seminars, saying that either the link to the taxpayer’s income-producing activities was not strong enough, or that she had “insufficient or unsatisfactory substantiation” of the claims.

HLB Mann Judd tax partner Peter Bembrick said it was rare for someone who had another full time job to claim to be operating a business of letting properties. He said in this case, the number of properties and the fact that the taxpayer had a track record of letting rental properties would have affected the decision that she was carrying on a business.

The taxpayer in this case did not have a business plan, and the rental activities had never returned a profit but the AAT found that that she intended to make a profit by increasing rents and buying more properties.

“The general test of carrying on a business is that it all comes down to: Are you doing it in a business-like manner? The scale is important but exactly how are you going about it?” Bembrick said.

“It would be helpful to have a business plan that can show that you are serious about the enterprise and that you had set out to make money. The ATO often has a problem with loss-making ventures such as primary production and agribusiness operations that make losses year after year and can’t show how they are ever going to make a profit.”

Bembrick says rental properties could be negatively geared and still be part of a business but there would have to be proof that there were prospects of making an income from the operation.
“If you’re solely dependent on making a capital gain the ATO might say it’s an investment not a business,” he said.

The main advantage in claiming to be conducting a business rather than holding investment properties is that more deductions are potentially available to people who are running a business.

Bembrick said that for most people who owned one, or a few, properties the deductions available to investors would be adequate.

The ATO may allow investors to claim deductions for home office and transport expenses relating to managing an investment property portfolio.

Both business operators and investors needed to maintain log books, diary notes and evidence of the expenses incurred in managing the properties, Bembrick said. Any training courses would have to have a clear link to the income-producing activities.

“People try to claim all sorts of courses, and maybe draw a long bow between the seminars and making investments. It would come down to the nature of the seminar,” Bembrick said.

Could you fit your life into a 33 square metre apartment?

It’s the size of a modest hotel room, with a fold-away bed and barely enough room to swing a cat but this is the home of the future in a city street near you.

Driven by the desire for higher profits, growing investor appetite and lax local planning rules, developers are seeking approval to build inner-city projects featuring apartments of less than 35 square metres. Five years ago the average size of a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney or Melbourne was almost double that Developer Sixth Lieutenant, owned by HostPlus deputy chairman Mark Robertson and his wife, Anne, gained approval last year for a $5.5 million projectat237Smith Street Fitzroy, with plans for 28 one-bedroom apartments on six levels rising above an existing 1870s retail and commercial building on a site of just 142 square metres.

The smallest apartment is just 33 square metres – including a foursquare metre balcony – leaving a living space that could just squeeze in four full-size snooker tables or eight king size beds. The biggest apartment will be 48 square metres.

At $8000 to $10,000 a square metre, the smallest apartment in the mooted project could be priced about 300,000. This would give an investor a return of between 5 and 6 per cent, better than the average Melbourne unit yield of about 4.2 per cent, as calculated by RP Data.

Terry Nash from Robertson Projects, which acts on behalf of Sixth Lieutenant, said the project was on the back burner but demand for smaller apartments was growing, given rising prices and investor interest “You generally get a stronger yield and there’s less competition because first-home buyers will struggle to get financing. Banks don’t look favourably on these small apartments,” said Paul Osborne, who heads Melbourne buyers agency The Secret Agent “We’re pretty careful on this style of investment. The financing issue can make them difficult to re-sell,” he said.

But a well-designed smaller apartment making clever use of space, with good natural lighting and a nice aspect was preferable to a larger, darker apartment he said.

“The growth of short-term letting through sites like air bnb is also making these smaller apartments appealing to investors,” Mr Osborne said.

Michael Buxton, professor of environment and planning at RMIT University, said apartments were shrinking in size with profit the primary motive.

“The cost of construction is driving down the size with developers trying to keep the purchase price at a level that will sell.”he said.

Lax planning controls and changing demographics were also contributing to their appeal, he said.

“Five year ago the average size of an apartment was 60 square metres.

“Now its between 42 and 45 square metres and falling.” he said.

Owen Harris, who has bought an apartment in a Neo metro development adjoining the proposed 237 Smith Street development, said local infrastructure was already stretched, and the area could not cope with such high-density projects.

Australian Financial Review, Australia by Larry Schlesinger

Deputy PM under the grill about FIFO work practices

DEPUTY Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Warren Truss is being dragged into a growing furore about fly-in, fly-out arrangements being used at Central Queensland’s mines and gas projects.

It has been 13 months since a federal inquiry into FIFO work practices published its final report – Cancer of the Bush or Salvation for our Cities? – but the Coalition Government is yet to discuss it.

Mr Truss is the one who must respond to the inquiry’s findings. He has been in government for six months. His office said the government “will respond in due course”.

Inquiry chairman and former independent MP Tony Windsor said Mr Truss and his government were “not interested in that issue”.

Mr Windsor has long raised concerns that FIFO arrangements were hurting regional communities which shoulder the burden of resources development without encouraging local growth because income-earners are sent back to the cities.

“I would have thought a country party, supposedly there to find employment for as many country people as it can, would have treated this with a bit more respect,” he said.

The inquiry featured country members from the Liberals, Nationals, Labor and independents.

The fight over commuter staff is reaching its peak in parts of the state – particularly the coalfields west of Mackay – where new mines are being opened with their entire rosters recruited from either Cairns or south-east Queensland.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance recruited about 1000 workers from the two locations, refusing to consider qualified locals..

Arrangements approved by the former Labor state government and similarly endorsed by its LNP replacements also risk setting a precedent for gas pipeline and major refineries being developed in Queensland and emerging coal developments in New South Wales.

Mr Windsor said with companies now pulling workers from regional centres, it was inevitable that recruiting could be narrowed to just Brisbane or Sydney.

“That is the cancer, it actually eats away at those people who live in those towns.”




Dawson MP George Christensen (LNP):

I believe this geographic discrimination when it comes to employment should be illegal.


BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance boss Lucas Dow:

We made a careful and considered decision to operate our newest mines, Caval Ridge and Daunia with remote workforce arrangements


Capricornia MP Michelle Landry (LNP):

We’re the ones who have to put up with harsher conditions, the bad roads, lack of facilities in those mining towns.


Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss (NAT)

It is appropriate for the Government to carefully consider its options before responding (to the FIFO report)


Isaac Regional Mayor Anne Baker (covering Moranbah)100% forced FIFO is the single biggest threat facing regional resource communities.


Deputy Qld Premier Jeff Seeney (LNP)

“This argument is not about percentages, it’s about providing balanced workforce solutions… that don’t dictate to Queenslanders where they should live.”


Mackay state MP Tim Mulherin (ALP)This is post code apartheid.


Former Independent Federal MP Tony Windsor

It just takes people out of those communities where those mines are. They don’t have a chance.

BHP’s 100% FIFO policy poisoning support for Coalition

FURY over Central Queensland mines recruiting entirely from beyond their regions could poison support for the Coalition, as Federal MPs turn on their state counterparts.

The fight is over two BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance coal mines – Caval Ridge and Daunia near Moranbah – which will not hire local workers, using 100% fly-in, fly-out commuters instead.

The now-operating Daunia mine and soon-to-be finished Caval Ridge hired about 1000 workers, but only if they lived within 100km of Brisbane or Cairns.

>> Read BMA’s Letter to the Editor disputing claims about their FIFO arrangements.

Although the former Bligh Labor Government opened the door to the arrangements, the industry downturn and subsequent job losses are increasing local frustrations.

There are reports of would-be workers moving to the Sunshine Coast in the hope of commuting back into their home towns.

Labor state member for Mackay Tim Mulherin on Tuesday described the arrangements as “postcode apartheid”.

Coalition member for Dawson George Christensen and Capricornia’s Michelle Landry represent the towns of Mackay, Rockhampton, out to Collinsville, Moranbah and Dysart – each directly affected by the recruiting policies.

They have met with Queensland Acting Premier Jeff Seeney to ask for action, although nothing was promised.

The two will now meet with BMA top brass a week from now (MAR 17) to discuss their concerns.

Ms Landry said there was a lot of voter anger about the issue which was not going away.

“I think that (the state government) needs to understand this 100% fly-in, fly-out is having a very negative affect on our communities in Central Queensland,” she said.

Mr Christensen said allowing companies to recruit only from certain areas – as supported by Mr Seeney – amounted to “geographic discrimination” and ought to be illegal.

“I have nothing against FIFO workers,” he said.

“But what (BMA) have done is say no one can apply who lives locally and regionally – it’s crazy”.

Mr Seeney said with the Coordinator-General’s approval already given to BMA on Caval Ridge and Daunia, there was little that could be done.

It was not the government’s place to tell workers where they needed to live, he said.

“Mr Mulherin is just the next in a long line of agitators who have tried to make political mileage out of this complex issue,” Mr Seeney said.

If that was true, Mr Mulherin said, why not allow workers to apply from all over Queensland?

Mr Mulherin pointed to changes made by the LNP-appointed Coordinator-General Barry Broe to protect the future of a mining camp in Moranbah last week.

BMA boss Lucas Dow said the company had 4000 workers who lived in Central Queensland communities.

He said rather than advocating changes to the FIFO rules, people should promote Moranbah and other mining towns as worthwhile places to live and work.


Ipswich: Granny flat laws change

Investors in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, are now allowed to build granny flats and rent them out separately, drastically increasing their rental yield.

The Ipswich City Council is the first and only council in Queensland to allow these types of dwellings for investment purposes.

Brisbane-based Vision Granny Flats director Sonia Woolley says Ipswich blocks tend to be large, allowing investors or homeowners to use their backyards for a granny flat.

She adds one interstate investor, Ben English, is about to add a granny flat with two bedrooms and a single carport for around $100,000 in the backyard of his Ipswich investment property. She says it means his rent will increase from an expected $340 to $360 per week for the front house, giving him an additional $250 to $295 per week for the granny flat.

“The investor is considering putting an executive furniture package into the properties to increase the rent return even more, potentially achieving $495 per week plus $375 per week rent. That’s $870 per week!”

Due to the fact the client has a 1500-square-metre block, he could even add a second granny flat, if he wanted to. “Add that to the existing rent. You do the sums, it’s an attractive option.”

Other states are also allowing investors to add granny flats. In New South Wales, the Department of Planning implemented a program in 2009. The newly elected Western Australian Government made an announcement in July 2013 that it would allow granny flats to be built for investment purposes to combat the state’s housing affordability issues. The Western Australian reform also states the allowed floor space for granny flats would be increased to 70 square metres. In June 2013, the Australian Capital Territory Government also announced a Variation 306 to its planning scheme, to allow a secondary dwelling or granny flat for investment purposes.

Woolley adds the latest changes in Queensland shows there’s a need for affordable housing and instead of having to borrow enough to buy an investment property with land, those who already own a home there can simply utilise the existing property.