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Mining Boom Could be History

This week's news in Western Australia is certainly indicating that the mining boom is in contraction, if not necessarily history. Our politicians continue to remind us how lucky we are as compared to the rest of the world, but with all the economic data pointing to lower than anticipated growth in China, there is likely to be continued pressure on the Australian economy, and the question on everyone's lips will be "to when?". Added to this, the quarterly economic growth figures showed that the mining industry actually contracted during the last quarter (coming in at 0.6% against a forecasted 1.4%). However, we are yet to see the Reserve Bank reduce interest rates as it continues to hold steady for this month.


Has the Mining Boom Gone Bang?

If you have been watching the news you would have seen that there are stories looming that the mining boom in Australia has gone bang, but has it really? There are a number of sources that are indicating that this may not be the case, the question is whether you are an optimist or a pessimist?

When you look at the press releases by BHP Billiton over the last week there has been the bad news around Olympic which followed the company's announcement that there had been a 35% slide in net profit. Within days BHP Billiton also announced the cancellation of its Outer Harbor project in WA which collectively results in more than US$30m in reduced expenditure on expansion projects. Their reasoning being the fall in commodity prices globally. For example the global price of iron ore slipped below US$100 per tonne for the first time since 2009. In this environment they are taking the view of keeping the status quo whilst keeping the Olympic dam on the back burner until December 2012 when they will again review the project timing. This is consistent with the company's agreement with the South Australian state government where agreement was reached to have the project substantially approved by December 15th 2012.


Carbon Tax Effect on Your Business

The Carbon tax comes into effect on 1 July 2012.

Recent surveys by MYOB show that most small businesses are ill-informed on what the start of Carbon tax means to them, with a significant percentage thinking that it will have a negative impact on their business.

Actually, to most small businesses, getting used to this tax is going to be a whole lot easier than when GST came on stream. Like GST, it is a "flow through" impost where costs will flow through to end users, with the aim of creating financial pain associated with using goods and services derived from a "polluting" industry. However, for most businesses there will be no extra compliance type paperwork.


Hitchhiker's Guide to the 2012 Federal Budget

The Labour Government has been giving us a flavour for its budget over the last few weeks so there were no real surprises, but there was lots of shuffling of dollars and issues. At the highest level, Wayne Swan's fifth budget promises to deliver a surplus of $1.5 billion in the year 2012/13 with budget savings estimated at $33.6 billion. The cost savings appear to come from reduced government spending across all departments and portfolios. The main winners are likely to be lower income earners, families and the elderly, the losers being high income earners and business. Unfortunately, not just big business but many small businesses as well, with the previously promised cut in Company tax from 1 July 2012 now not eventuating. The previously announced measure to cut 1% off the tax rate for small business in 2012 and 2013 for big business appears to be gone as permanent basis, this perhaps being the biggest surprise and disappointment of the budget as it was promised as being funded by the mining tax (which of course will go ahead).


Mining Businesses: Do You Know Your Duty of Care?

Under the Mines Safe and Inspection Act a duty of care applies to anyone and the general rule is that having a duty of care applies to all workers; employers, employees, self-employed, supervisors, managers and business owners who employee others at all levels including corporations. Similar principles apply to all work places.