Thursday, May 18, 2017

Santos boss warns on ‘rushed’ east coast gas intervention, urges industry solution

Victoria and NSW want to grab natural gas mined in Queensland because they have banned gas mining in their own States, despite having big reserves.  Why should anyone accommodate that?  There is however a big new gas  mine under development in Qld. that should supply plenty of gas for all

Santos chief Kevin Gallagher says Malcolm Turnbull’s east coast gas intervention is being rushed through, could put future Australian LNG contracts at risk and will reduce pressure on Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory to produce their own onshore gas.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference in Perth, the Santos boss said east coast exporters should put an industry solution to the east coast crisis.

“There is an imbalance in the market and I don’t think it is just about availability — it’s a supply issue, but it’s an affordability issue as well,” he said.

“Whatever we come up with has to be robust and not scare investors, international oil companies and buyers.

“A reputation for reliable supply has really underpinned the boom we’ve been through. There are still millions of tonnes of LNG to be contracted in the years ahead, and we have to be really careful we don’t create an environment where we are known asbeing not only a high cost environment but a high sovereign risk environment.”

Mr Gallagher said the government’s plan to implement its domestic gas intervention plan by July was too quick. “This is a tool for governments to use over 20 to 30 years,” he said.

“Any long term solution has to protect the sanctity of long-term agreements. If you start putting export licenses in place and you ask companies to apply every year to meet contract commitments, how will you sign the next agreement ... people will go to the US to get their gas.”

He said gas swaps, where export-bound gas could be diverted to domestic markets and LNG contracts filled by spot purchases took time to negotiate.

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan and Woodside Petroleum chief Peter Coleman have said swaps are one solution to the east coast problem. “Some of the people making comments in the market might be conflicted because they are looking to sell some spot cargoes,” Mr Gallagher said.

He said that a rushed mechanism could have unintended consequences. “One of the problems with an ill-thought-out mechanism is it may just let all the states that haven’t developed resources sit back and rely on Queensland.

“Everybody should work together to get an industry solution we can take to government. I think there is a risk we are standing alone and being singled out as a project, the way this is heading, and I don’t think that’s a good outcome and it doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.”


Immigration farce shows Pauline Hanson was right all along

Des Houghton

I HATE to say it, but it seems Pauline Hanson was right all along.

Muslim immigrants are sneaking into Australia on fake claims they will be persecuted if they are sent home.

Perhaps we are too soft at welcoming uninvited non-citizens who jump the back fence.

Australia’s immigration system is again under scrutiny after visas were granted to “refugees” who lied their way in by pretending to be in danger if they were sent home.

Six Iranian boat people have made a mockery of our strict border controls by gaining residency and then travelling back and forth to Iran on holiday.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton did the right thing and moved to deport them, only to have his decision overturned by the Administration Appeals Tribunal.

In fact 39 per cent of Dutton’s decisions or those by delegates have been overturned by the AAT in the past year.

Dutton has done a mighty job protecting borders and showing the door to undesirables.

He chose his words carefully yesterday saying some “infuriating” cases make you “shake your head”. So the courts, once again, usurp the powers of the democratically-elected Cabinet minister responsible for our welfare.

The left-wing Greens and Labor pretenders don’t like me mentioning it but “refugees” pay $10,000 to people-smugglers for places on boats to Australia. So they are not genuine refugees. They are queue jumpers.

Polls show a majority of Australians support immigration. But the majority also favours entry of only genuine refugees who have been carefully assessed.

Now isn’t the time for Malcolm Turnbull to go soft.

He should remember that strife surrounding unvetted immigration has smashed European Union and delivered Donald Trump the White House.


Shipbuilding sticker shock: taxpayer to waste millions per naval job

From those of us who long lamented the waste of taxpayer dollars propping up the automotive industry, it’s time to declare “come back, all is forgiven”. Perhaps it’s not too late to throw a few billion at Detroit and Tokyo to get them to stay because, compared to its replacement, automotive protectionism was bargain basement stuff.

In unveiling its Naval Shipbuilding Plan today, the government gave some hard numbers to the cost of propping up Australia’s uncompetitive naval construction sector and the diminishing number of Liberal-held seats in South Australia. And they’re horrific. To build a succession of frigates, patrol boats, submarines and smaller naval craft in Australian shipyards in coming decades, the government has committed to spend at least $195 billion, not merely on building the vessels, but in upgrading shipyard infrastructure to handle the task (the cost of maintaining the vessels is a whole, and much larger, separate bucket of money). The big-ticket items are the $50 billion submarine contract and the $35 billion future frigates project, both of which will be built in Adelaide, although the future frigates project still awaits a decision on a successful tenderer.

Today’s plan also reveals the government needs to invest in the upgrading of the Adelaide shipyards in order to accommodate multiple builds. That will cost at least $1.2 billion — although the upgrades haven’t even been designed yet, meaning the cost is almost certain to increase. Worse, the vessel construction schedule is dependent on those upgrades being completed by late 2019, meaning there’s no room for delays. That $1.2 billion is likely to end up looking fanciful when time comes for the Australian National Audit Office to write the inevitably scathing report of how the upgrades were mishandled.

Australian shipbuilding plan © Provided by Private Media Operations Pty Ltd. Australian shipbuilding plan According to the plan, it will sustain 5200 jobs when construction reaches a peak in the mid-2020s. That’s what we’re getting in terms of employment for spending $195 billion on local construction. The plan notes the famous RAND report that found “the cost of building naval ships in Australia was 30-40 per cent greater than United States benchmarks, and even greater against some other naval shipbuilding nations”. Assuming RAND’s lowest estimate, 30%, we’re spending nearly $60 billion more than we need to over the coming decades (and more beyond) for 5200 jobs. That’s around $11.25 million a job, or about $1 million a year over a decade. In contrast, back around 2010, we were spending about $10,000 a year to support around 50,000 automotive manufacturing jobs.

But according to the plan, we’re missing the point. What the government is doing is investing so that that 30-40% gap can be closed.

    “RAND judged that the premium could be reduced if both Government and the industry were prepared to reform. Government would need to change its demand profile for new naval vessels and reform its acquisition and contracting processes. Industry would need to reform its workplace cultures and institute productivity improvements across the board. Both sides of the demand-supply relationship would need to work more collectively – in partnership — to deliver a more productive and cost-competitive industrial capability. The Government accepted the RAND principles and is making the necessary investment in a strategic national capability for naval shipbuilding and sustainment.”

So, we’re spending $195 billion over the next ten years on local naval construction so that we spend less on naval construction. It’s a kind of fiscal equivalent of fighting for peace (or as the Plan puts it, all this extra defence spending is “part of the Australian contribution to global peace”). So let’s assume that the government is wildly successful and reduces the RAND gap by three-quarters. We’d still be spending tens of billions for 5000 local jobs.

But it isn’t the only interesting twist on protectionism in the document. We’re building so many vessels locally that we won’t have enough workers to build them. We’re not just propping up existing jobs, we’re creating new ones to subsidise. Better yet, many of those jobs are going to be filled by… foreign workers. Yes, even though it’s only a few weeks since the Prime Minister announced the faux-bolition of 457 visas, the plan says we’ll need lots of foreign workers:

    “Selected shipbuilders are expected to bring into the Australian shipyards workers from their home companies who are familiar with their specific production techniques and processes. These workers are likely to fill middle management and supervisory roles and will be essential to the process of knowledge transfer to the Australian naval shipbuilding industry.”

You’ve got to hand it to Australia — we’ve invented a form of protectionism that involves looking after foreign workers. So, everyone’s a winner. Except the poor taxpayer.



A most incorrect man: Broadcaster John Laws reveals he still demands female staff wear short skirts

If men stopped liking the looks of women, the human race would rapidly die out

Controversial broadcaster John Laws says he still demands women in his office wear short skirts and bare legs and refuses to be bowed by "political correctness".

The 81-year-old refused to accept he could not "get away with some of the things he got away with in the 70s, 80s and 90s", and when asked if he still demanded female staff to wear skirts he said "you bet".

"I can ... (and) they all wear skirts," Laws said in an interview with Steve Price on The Project last night.

"He who pays the piper calls the tune. "I just love women, it's been one of my great downfalls in life.

"I love to talk to them, I'd much rather talk to them than a bunch of blokes and I love them to look feminine. "And to me a skirt on a beautiful body is a very, very feminine thing."

Laws said if he was confronted by the Equal Opportunity Commission, which investigates discrimination in the workplace, he would tell them to "get stuffed".

His comments sparked fury amongst viewers, who said it disrespected women. "Someone needs to tell John Laws women's bodies don't exist for male pleasure," one person wrote.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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