Tag Archives: Queensland

NT push for gas pipeline link with Queensland

Updated February 22, 2013 11:08:46

Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills says he will lobby the Federal Government and Opposition to guarantee support for the construction of a gas pipeline between the Territory and Queensland.

Mr Mills told the Legislative Assembly the pipeline should be built from Tennant Creek in the Territory to Mount Isa in north-west Queensland to encourage growth and investment.

He says the project is now on the COAG agenda, which is proof of its national significance.

“This is a big, bold plan, a very important plan,” he said.

“It is part of the Country Liberals’ DNA as to have these sorts of plans that are going to create a better future for the Northern Territory.”

The proposed pipeline would cost an estimated $500 million.

Topics: government-and-politics, oil-and-gas, tennant-creek-0860, nt, darwin-0800, mount-isa-4825

First posted February 22, 2013 11:04:23

Major power outage hits far north Queensland community

Ergon Energy says it is not sure how long it will take to repair a major fault at a sub-station in Cooktown that left thousands of people without power at the weekend.

It happened on Saturday night with residents in the Indigenous community of Hope Vale still without electricity today.

Telephone service to Hope Vale has also been cut by the power outage.

A temporary supply was restored to Cooktown residents yesterday when 40 Ergon staff from Mareeba, Cairns and Townsville went to the area with 12 generators.

The Member for Cook David Kempton says he will meet with Ergon Energy staff during a visit to Hope Vale with the Premier Campbell Newman tomorrow.

“Had there been rain associated with this all these back-up units wouldn’t have got past Rifle Creek and McLeod Creek and couldn’t have got into Cooktown,” Mr Kempton said.

“I think it’s a timely reminder that we need to review the entire situation in remote areas, especially cross communications between the various agencies.”

Residents across the region could lose power again today.

The Cook Shire Mayor, Peter Scott says Ergon will be trying a series of options to repair the fault.

“One is a diversion of the live-line feed from Black Mountain sub-station,” Councillor Scott said.

“The second is a direct connection to the main voltage line of a unit called Pegasus, which is a great big generator that can feed straight in.

“The third is that they’re working at the Cooktown sub-station itself.”

Councillor Scott has praised Ergon crews for their quick response.

“Most of our businesses and a lot of the people particularly the rural residents up here have got their standby generators and their cyclone kits all organised so it’s not like people were totally unprepared for the emergency,” he said.

“But even so it wasn’t very comfortable for a lot of people for quite some time.”

Topics: electricity-energy-and-utilities, community-and-society, local-government, cooktown-4895, hope-vale-4871

First posted January 14, 2013 10:14:38

Moodys warns Queensland on credit rating

Updated November 26, 2012 12:29:50

The international ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded its outlook for Queensland’s credit rating.

Moody’s says the change from Aa1 with a stable outlook, to Aa1 with a negative outlook, reflects the state’s deteriorating financial performance since the 2007-08 financial year and high debt levels.

The ratings agency says the state has faced high infrastructure costs in recent years due to rapid population growth in the south, and demand from the resources sector in the north.

Moody’s says the severe floods of early last year also hit Queensland’s budget.

In a statement, the agency welcomed the state’s new budget plan, but it says the measures face several headwinds.

“The state government has implemented a new fiscal redress plan that aims to restore budgetary balance by 2014/15, largely through constraining growth in expenditures to 2.5 per cent on average over the next four years compared to the 8.7 per cent registered over the past four years,” Moody’s says.

“This more prudent fiscal approach is a positive development, but actual improvements would take a few years and will be challenged by upward pressures on expenditures related to rapid population growth.”

But it says the state’s Aa1 rating reflects its strong budget flexibility and diverse economic base, as well as support from the Federal Government.

Moody’s says the state must reach a sustainable surplus for its outlook to return to stable.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, economic-trends, government-and-politics, australia, qld

First posted November 26, 2012 11:25:31

Building approvals ‘patchy’ throughout Queensland

Updated November 09, 2012 11:08:57

The Queensland Housing Industry Association (HIA) says the downturn in the sector cannot get any worse, with figures showing building approvals dropped 19 per cent in Brisbane over the last 12 months.

However, building activity increased 53 per cent in Toowoomba on the state’s Darling Downs in the same period.

HIA state executive director Warwick Temby says new figures show the construction sector is reflecting Queensland’s two-speed economy.

“It shows the housing industry’s probably at the bottom of the trough across Queensland, but the picture’s very patchy,” he said.

“Anywhere that’s anywhere near a resources area seems to be doing pretty well.

“Places that aren’t near resources areas are struggling.”

Mr Temby says builders are more optimistic about the future.

“We’re certainly optimistic that a combination of lower interest rates and 15,000 first home buyer grant that the Government introduced in the budget will help turn things around in 2013,” he said.

Topics: activism-and-lobbying, housing, building-and-construction, housing-industry, community-development, mining-rural, regional, regional-development, brisbane-4000, bundaberg-4670, cairns-4870, gladstone-4680, longreach-4730, maroochydore-4558, mount-isa-4825, rockhampton-4700, southport-4215, toowoomba-4350, townsville-4810

First posted November 09, 2012 10:50:14

Newman lifts uranium mining ban in Queensland

By Eric Tlozek and Bridget SmithUpdated October 22, 2012 15:13:17

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced he is ending the state’s decades-long ban on uranium mining.

The State Government decision reverses the position Mr Newman’s Liberal National Party took to the election in March.

Uranium has not been mined in Queensland since the closure of the Mary Kathleen mine in the state’s north-west in 1982.

State Cabinet made the decision while meeting today in the southern border town of Goondiwindi.

The Queensland Resources Council says the state holds about $18 billion worth of known uranium reserves, mostly in the north-west.

Mr Newman says the decision to lift the ban was partially prompted by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recent support for uranium sales to India.

“With the Prime Minister’s statement about uranium exports to India, there is no earthly reason why Queenslanders should miss out on the economic opportunities and the jobs from uranium mining in this state,” he said.

He says the resumption of mining will be overseen by a three-member committee that will report to Parliament in three months.

The State Government says it has no plans to develop nuclear power or allow the disposal of nuclear waste in Queensland.

Mr Newman says uranium mining operations could take more than a year to get up and running again.

The State Government says there are more than 80 known sites that contain valuable amounts of uranium, mostly in the state’s north-west.

Successive Labor state governments had maintained a policy of allowing uranium exploration but not mining.

Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney says the LNP has broken an election promise on the issue.

“They said that they were crystal clear that they had no plans or desire to approve or facilitate the development of uranium in Queensland,” he said.

“This is a massive and deeply disappointing about-face that completely lacks a basis in evidence and also runs against community promises and expectation.”

But State Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter says uranium mining will broaden the industry base in Queensland and generate hundreds of jobs.

“Valhalla Reserve is about 35 kilometres north of Mount Isa – just off the bitumen – it was the third or fourth biggest deposit in Australia,” he said.

“It rates between eighth and 12th largest in the world.

“Last time I checked, there is about $2 billion in royalties sitting in the ground in Queensland from uranium reserves.”

Speaking before Mr Newman’s announcement, Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady predicted the decision would spark another resources boom and bring Queensland into line with other uranium-rich states.

“The Federal Labor Government supports the mining and export of uranium, and the Opposition does, and every other state and territory – all except Queensland,” he said.

The Australian Uranium Association says the majority of the nation’s uranium deposits are found in Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

In February the New South Wales Liberal State Government approved the resumption of exploration for uranium, a move which was seen as paving the way for a full resumption of mining.

Mining is currently banned in Victoria but allowed in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Topics: uranium-mining, public-sector, mining-rural, mining-environmental-issues, mining-industry, liberal-national-party-queensland, goondiwindi-4390, brisbane-4000, longreach-4730, mount-isa-4825, toowoomba-4350

First posted October 22, 2012 13:24:29

Rental property shortage continues across Queensland

Updated October 19, 2012 12:17:16

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) says Gladstone remains the state’s tightest rental market.

The REIQ says most regions posted vacancy rates of 2.5 per cent or lower last month, but in Gladstone the rate is below 1 per cent.

REIQ chief executive Anton Kardash says there is also an undersupply of rental accommodation in the Brisbane region.

“We’re really seeing a tightening of the market place pretty much across Queensland,” he said.

“There are some exceptions but we’re seeing a real tightening of the market.

“What we would normal consider to be a balanced market is 3 per cent and what we’re seeing from June to September is we’ve gone from 2.4 to 1.9 per cent.”

Topics: housing, housing-industry, community-development, regional, regional-development, gladstone-4680, brisbane-4000, bundaberg-4670, cairns-4870, longreach-4730, mackay-4740, maroochydore-4558, rockhampton-4700, mount-isa-4825, southport-4215, toowoomba-4350, townsville-4810

First posted October 19, 2012 12:16:05

QR shares jump as Queensland sells down stake

Updated October 09, 2012 07:24:02

The Queensland Government will sell more than half of its remaining shares in freight rail company QR National, which was privatised in late 2010.

The company announced a deal that will see it buy $1 billion worth of the Queensland Government’s remaining QR National shares at $3.47 per share, provided shareholders vote in favour of the transaction.

That is considerably higher than the price the government originally floated the company for, which was $2.45 per share for small time individual investors and $2.55 for larger and institutional investors.

The share buy-back will take almost 12 per cent of QR National’s capital out of circulation, which the company says should boost earnings for shareholders.

At the same time, the Queensland Government is also selling $500 million worth of shares to institutional investors, also at $3.47 a share.

The announcement of the sale lifted QR National’s share price by 5 per cent to $3.645 by 12:08pm (AEDT).

The two sales will see the Queensland Government sell almost 51 per cent of its stake in the formerly public rail freight carrier, which specialises in transporting coal.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls says the price the Government achieved for the sale will see more funds available to pay down a greater proportion of the former Labor government’s debt.

“The LNP opposed the former Labor government’s decision to sell QR National however we now have an obligation to Queenslanders to achieve the best possible outcome from the situation we inherited,” Mr Nicholls said.

“The $1.5 billion sale represents a gain of around $400 million to Queensland’s bottom line since the initial public offer.”

The proceeds from the sale to institutional investors are expected to be received by Thursday, while the money from the share buy-back will not flow through to Queensland coffers until after the deal receives approval from QR National shareholders at the annual general meeting expected to be held on November 21.

Mr Nicholls says fees for the deal have also been kept to a minimum and that the Liberal National Party (LNP) Government continues to be a significant shareholder in QR National.

“Whilst the Government will continue to review its investment in QR National, we have no current intention to sell any of our remaining shares in the near term,” he said.

The transactions should leave the Queensland Treasury owning just over 18 per cent of QR National, down from its current 34 per cent holding, as shares sold to QR National will be cancelled as part of the buy-back.

However, despite taking a promise to sell off QR National shares to the last Queensland election, Queensland Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the party now knows better and the Liberal National Party should think again about the sale.

“We know very well what Queenslanders thought of asset sales when Labor was delivered a very clear message from the people of Queensland, when we were reduced to seven seats at the last election,” she said.

Topics: business-economics-and-finance, company-news, privatisation-and-deregulation, stockmarket, qld, australia

First posted October 08, 2012 10:24:30