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NEWS

Thursday, November 29, 2018

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Mother returns to the workforce to complete apprenticeship with the help of Origin: PAGE 3

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WELCOME

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

SNAP OF THE MONTH

◗ HOME STRETCH: Runners in the recently held Roma Cup.

PHOTO: JORJA MCDONNELL

Contents

From the editor

WELCOME to the November edition of Surat Basin News. This month we have all the latest coverage from the Roma Cup. Check out a range of fabulous photos from this year’s pinnacle event that had thousands in attendance. In other news, we spoke to Chinchilla local Sinade Crothers-Wilcox who admits to finally finding the balance between work and family life thanks to Origin giving her a second chance to finish her mechanical fitter apprenticeship she originally began in 2009. The story of Sinade is one most working mothers and fathers could possibly relate to and how finding time to fit both aspects into their busy working and family lives. Origin’s apprenticeship development program combines on-the-job learning, professional and technical training, mentoring and career development opportunities within the gas industry. A highlight in this edition includes journalist Jorja McDonnell taking an in-depth look at Senex’s Roma North development following a major construction contract being awarded to Wasco Australia. The Roma North site is located 30km outside town and will house a processing facility and pipeline infrastructure connecting it to the wider Western Surat Gas Project. An expected 50 jobs will be created directly from construction and local subcontractors are likely to be brought on board. Furthermore, hope builds as New Acland Coal Mine owner, New Hope Group confirms the Queensland Court has handed down a positive recommendation for stage three mining lease and environmental authority amendment applications. This month’s Surat Basin News dives into developing projects which are at the forefront for readers, keeping them up to date with the latest news. — Molly Hancock

CHINCHILLA L A

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FESTIV L 14-17 February 2019

MAIN DAY SATURDAY 16 Feb

IN THE NEWS Apprentice loves work at Origin ................................................3 Armour, Shell combine for new project .....................................4 Rail link could be on the horizon ...............................................5 Financial boost for small businesses ........................................8 Land has been recovered, or has it?..........................................9 New Acland the subject of court decision................................10

Queensland ocket launch a success ........................................14 Changes to CSG compensation legislation ..............................15 Last yard in Toowoomba up for grabs.......................................16 OPINION ................................................................................................18-21 PLACES AND FACES .............................................................................................22-24

The newspaper

The team

The Surat Basin News publishes every month and is delivered via the four dominant newspapers of the region: the Chinchilla News, Western Star, Dalby Herald and The Chronicle. It will reach the homes and offices of almost 50,000 people living, working and playing in the Surat Basin, connecting the business and mining communities throughout the booming region. Surat Basin News is a necessity. It was born out of a passion for Australia’s fastest growing communities – a passion for a region of unbridled potential and a future of vast economic growth and opportunities. The newspaper, professionally designed and regionally topical, is a must read for anyone associated with the exciting Surat Basin. ONLINE: Surat Basin News has gone online to ensure our readers in every corner of the country have the latest news sent directly to them. Go to: www.suratbasin.com.au. PURCHASE FROM: Newsagents in Chinchilla, Roma, Dalby, Gladstone, Moura, Toowoomba, Calliope. VISION: Surat Basin News will allow local businesses to network and communicate with everyone in the 1200 sq km basin, providing unprecedented access to new clients and markets. It will give a revealing insight into major industry while lifting the veil on current and proposed developments. It will be there for each and every announcement shaping the region’s future while profiling the colourful characters.

GENERAL MANAGER Erika Brayshaw, Chinchilla Phone 4672 9921, email Erika.Brayshaw@chinchillanews.com.au

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ADVERTISING TEAM Jodie Williams, Chinchilla Phone 4672 9900, email Jodie.Williams@chinchillanews.com.au Greg Latta, Roma Phone 4672 9927, email Greg.Latta@romawesternstarnews.com Nicole McDougall, Dalby Phone 4672 5500, email Nicole.McDougall@dalbyherald.com.au EDITORIAL

Molly Hancock, Roma

Phone 4578 4120, email Molly.Hancock@westernstarnews.com SURAT BASIN NEWS 12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla Q 4413 PO Box 138, Chinchilla Q 4413 The Surat Basin News is published by Chinchilla Newspapers Pty Ltd, 12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla Q 4413 The Surat Basin News is printed by News Corp Australia

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A look at the past, window into future


3

IN THE NEWS

Thursday, November 29, 2018 suratbasin.com.au

◗ BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: Sinade Crothers-Wilcox with her daughter Charlotte.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

Origin lends a helping hand

Welding the work/life balance

AFTER a few early challenges, Chinchilla local Sinade Crothers-Wilcox freely admits that she has at last got the balance right between work and family life, built around five-year-old daughter Charlotte. And much of this is thanks to Origin’s foresight in seeing her potential and giving her a second chance to finish her mechanical fitter apprenticeship, which she began in 2009 as a 17-year-old. Not that Sinade’s potential would be hard to miss, considering she was taught by her much-loved dad, Colin, how to weld when she was 10 and helped him build a trailer and car “from the ground up” while still in primary school. “Welding is still my favourite thing to do,” said the 26-year-old with a smile as she cast her mind back to those days when she was her dad’s number one off-sider. Sinade was successful in gaining a place in the gas company’s 2018 Apprentice and Trainee Program intake to complete a four-year mechanical fitter apprenticeship. She was recruited as part of Origin’s ongoing focus on providing employment opportunities for the communities in which they operate. Origin’s General Manager for the Condabri, Talinga and Orana Asset, Alex Kennedy-Clark, said the apprenticeships are an

important part of the company’s local employment commitment. “We’re keen to provide employment opportunities for local people to start a career in the industry in the region,” she said. “We currently have a dozen apprentices and trainees from two previous intakes – living in the Chinchilla, Miles and Roma communities and working at our operational sites from Talinga and Condabri up to Reedy Creek and Spring Gully. “We’ve now got the difficult task of working through over 600 applications for next year’s 2019 intake - which shows just how sought after these opportunities are.” Reflecting on her own experience, Sinade said “with Charlotte starting Prep I decided, after prompting by a friend, to try my luck and apply”. “They wanted to help me finish it off. I didn’t have to repeat anything just pick up from where I left off, which was awesome.” She said being given the opportunity to finish her apprenticeship had not only taken a lot of pressure off her personally but Origin’s willingness to help her “also gives others the encouragement to keep going and that having kids needn’t hold you back or stop you doing what you love”. “Getting this job has helped my family tremendously, and has given me the opportunity to finish my apprenticeship doing what I love.”

The help provided to Sinade did not stop with her just resuming her training. “Origin is accommodating when it comes to my position and as I have a young family in town they won’t just send me off to another work-site for a week at a time and see me being away from Charlotte,” said Sinade, adding that if the option arrived for her to get more experience at other Origin sites, however “we will have that discussion”. For now, Sinade’s work schedule at Origin’s Talinga site, near Chinchilla, is a 5.30am-5pm day, Wednesday to the following Tuesday, followed by a week off. “With the week on, week off I still get to do the mum things with Charlotte, like taking her to school and picking her up, going to assemblies and seeing her get awards,” she said. Sinade moved to Chinchilla with her family in 2006 and today is committed to community life. Her mum lives across town, she’s is a regular at the gym, plays in the local touch competition and, with her partner, Darren, is involved in local cricket. Origin’s apprenticeship development program combines on-the-job learning, professional and technical training, mentoring and career development opportunities within the gas industry.


4

IN THE NEWS

◗ GAS PLAN GOES AHEAD: Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

PHOTO: ROB WILLIAMS

Armour Energy and Shell/Santos combine

Development gets green light RIGHTS to explore a large parcel of land near Surat have been awarded to a joint venture between Armour Energy and Shell/Santos, as more gas development looms for the Surat Basin. Together, they will explore more than 900 square kilometres of land. Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Armour had won a tender to explore over 450 square kilometres 10km south of Surat. The exploration will see Armour work with Santos and Shell, who won the rights to explore over 390 kilometres, 19km east of the township. “These land releases mean more petajoules in pipes, and more Queensland gas for Australia’s east coast,” Dr Lynham said. “Queensland continues to lead the nation on gas and again, I’m imploring other states to follow our lead.” Exploration cannot begin until the successful companies fulfil native title and environmental requirements, as well as negotiate land access agreements. Gas produced in the future on these blocks can only be sold

in Australia, as part of a Queensland government initiative to deal with east coast gas shortages and high prices. Almost 23,000sq km have been released in Queensland for gas exploration since February 2017, with almost a third of it reserved for domestic supply. Last month, Senex announced its plans for Project Atlas in the Surat Basin, on the first 58sq km land release, which the Queensland Government granted for domestic-only gas production in March this year. Senex have also begun construction at their Roma North development. Across these two developments, a combined 110 wells will be in use. This month, Dr Lynham announced a highly prospective 22km block, southwest of Chinchilla, which will go to tender, on the condition gas production from this site will be reserved to Australian manufacturers. “We know an industry affected by the nation’s domestic gas shortage has been manufacturing – an industry which has been crying out for a stable, reliable gas supply,” he said. “Once again, Queensland is doing the heavy lifting on gas policy.”

Dr Lynham said the state was providing a boost to the industry by supplying much needed gas. “We continue to deliver on our election commitments to unlock gas land to ensure supply to our manufacturers, as creators of jobs.” Dr Lynham also welcomed the move, as it would provide employment and business opportunities for thousands of Queenslanders. Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing and Infrastructure Cameron Dick welcomed the initiative, saying the move would create a sustainable solution for the state. “There are a number of manufacturing industries in Queensland for whom gas is a key input, and access to a reliable supply of affordably priced gas is critical to the ongoing viability of these industries,” he said. He said the Queensland government is committed to working with the gas industry to deliver a solution. “That continues to facilitate the exploration and development of our gas resources alongside a growing and dynamic manufacturing sector.” — Ellen Ransley

Wagners to make the journey into America

◗ HEADING ABROAD: Wagners new generation building materials executive general manager Michael Kemp says the company’s first shipment of a new boardwalk to Florida is the start of an explosion of American projects. PHOTO: TOM GILLESPIE

WAGNERS will have a manufacturing plant based in the United States within the next 12 months. The news from the massive construction materials company comes after the first shipment of a special boardwalk left its Wellcamp warehouse bound for Ocala, Florida. The footbridges were made from Wagners’ composite fibre technology, an advanced form of fibreglass created with a special method the company developed over several years. New generation building materials executive general manager Michael Kemp said the project was the start of an explosion in American infrastructure work. “Right now, we are looking for a manufacturing location, so we’re doing an assessment for a number of different towns and we’re building machines to send over,” he said. “We aim to have a pultrusion machine (used to create the CFT) over there manufacturing within 12 months. “We’ve got three Americans employed and a few of us flying back and forth and the amount of work that’s out there and the pipeline we’ve created is huge.”

Wagners will send five containers worth of boardwalks and jetties to Ocala for the 462m long project, which will be built on swamplands as part of community access. Mr Kemp said potential American customers wanted to move away from traditional products to build civil infrastructure, particularly if it could last longer before needing maintenance. “Every council in the USA we go to is similar to here –they’re looking for alternatives to steel and concrete,” he said. “While America is in a strong position financially, they’re looking for ways to get away from maintenance and the ongoing bleed of cash to replace infrastructure. “They’re looking for materials that are going to last longer, and that’s where we’re getting some headway.” Wagners, founded in 1989 and owned by brothers John, Denis, Neill and Joe Wagner, reported strong financial and business performances at its first annual general meeting since partially floating on the ASX last year. The company also announced an entrance into the Indian construction materials market through partner JSW.


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IN THE NEWS

Thursday, November 29, 2018 suratbasin.com.au

Construction begins

Work is under way at Roma North CIVIL works started earlier this week at Senex’s Roma North development, after the major construction contract was awarded to Wasco Australia. It is a major expansion of Senex operations in the Surat Basin and managing director and CEO Ian Davies said the contract would benefit the region through employment and business opportunities. “This contract and early works are further milestones in the development of our gas business in the Surat Basin,” Mr Davies said. “We are also pleased the contract has been awarded to a company with established operations in Roma, where Senex will be operating and supporting the community for decades to come.” The Roma North site is about 30km outside of town and will house a processing facility and pipeline infrastructure connecting it to the wider Western Surat Gas Project. An expected 50 jobs will be created directly from construction and local subcontractors are likely to be brought on board as a support to Wasco’s continuing operations. Mel Whyte, president of Wasco Australia, said the construction firm was growing in the region.

◗ NEW DEAL: Senex Energy CEO Ian Davies.

“Senex first brought our company to Roma two years ago and this is our biggest contract in the area to date,” she said. “The delivery of these works will further develop our presence in regional Queensland.” The development at Roma North, combined with Project Atlas near Wandoan, is initially expected to involve the construction

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

of a combined 110 wells, two gas processing plants and associated pipelines and facilities over two years. Roma North is expected to have a starting capacity of 16 terajoules, equivalent to 4.45 gigawatt hours per day. — Jorja McDonnell jorja.mcdonnell@westernstarnews.com

Toowoomba to Brisbane freight rail link one step closer “The commodities are similar to Toowoomba, with fresh produce, grains, pulses, cotton and wine all featuring regularly. “We will bring our knowledge and expertise of regional rail and logistics to Toowoomba and provide solutions for customers in the Darling Downs and other areas of Western Queensland. “This is a long term project for our company and we believe in the success of the region.” InterLinkSQ’s General Manager Blair Batts said it was Seaway’s regional success and experience that convinced him Seaway is the right partner: “We really wanted to work with an Australian company and one that knew how to operate in a rural environment – Seaway ticked all the boxes,” Mr Batts said. “Our teams have worked together for over a year now to bring this deal together, and over that time we have seen how Seaway operate and what a success story they are, we want that type of culture running this key facility.” Once up and running, Seaway are planning to move over 20,000 teus by rail to the Port of Brisbane.

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THE Seaway Group are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement with InterLinkSQ to build a new intermodal terminal on InterLinkSQ’s 200 hectare site in Toowoomba. The site is strategically located 13km west of Toowoomba in a prime location to capitalise on current freight requirements as well as the Inland Rail when it begins. The multi-million-dollar project will create an open access, intermodal terminal linking container freight customers in Toowoomba and the surrounding regions directly to the Port of Brisbane via rail. As Seaway’s CEO Craig McElvaney explained, Seaway are no strangers to regional rail: “We are very excited about joining with InterLinkSQ and bringing this project to life. Seaway know regional rail through our Intermodal business in Merbein, Victoria (Mildura),” Mr McElvaney said. “Through that site we facilitate the movement of over 15,000 containers per annum by rail from the Sunraysia region to ports all around the world.

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IN THE NEWS

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Multi-million dollar project

Wagners will make waves with wharf THE innovative Wagner Corporation wharf was officially opened by the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday, November 21, after 18 months of construction. The $52,000,000 super structure saw Premier Palaszczuk refer to the Wagner family who constructed and own the wharf as “Queensland legends” on her Twitter account. “Their innovation and determination have created jobs and supported industries across the length and breadth of this state,” she said. Innovation and future planning between Wagner Corporation and Wagners Holding Company Ltd were the drivers for the wharf construction. Wagners co-founder and non-executive chairman Denis Wagner said their aim was to reinvent the design of a wharf structure by using their new generation building materials, composite fibre technology and earth friendly concrete, in the construction of the decking system. “The end result is a 100 per cent non-corrosive, non-ferrous modular deck that can be exposed to all required loads, while providing long-term durability and low levels of maintenance,” Mr Wagner said. The new wharf is located at Wagners Pinkenba cement plant and is owned and operated by Wagner Corporation and forms part of the Wagner family’s ongoing investment in infrastructure. Premier Palaszczuk further tweeted she was proud to have

◗ MAJOR PROJECT: The $52 million Wagner Corporation wharf is now open.

the opportunity to open their new wharf at Pinkenba. “It’s made from earth-friendly concrete and will ease congestion for shipping around the port of Brisbane,” she said. Using Wagners new generation building materials, in combination with reduced truck movements and supply chain efficiencies, it will result in a saving of 68,333 tonnes of CO2eq throughout the wharf’s 40 year design life. During the construction, Wagner Corporation also invested heavily in promoting and supporting southeast Queensland with its investment of the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and the adjacent Toowoomba Wellcamp Business Park. Wagner Corporation are committed to building Australia’s first multi-modal rail facility incorporating road, rail and air. The Wellcamp multi-modal freight hub will also be used to consolidate sea freight to dispatch from the Pinkenba wharf or through the Port of Brisbane

PHOTOS: DEAN MENGEL

“The wharf also opens up seamless export options for Wagners’ products with our intention to export cement and aggregates out of Brisbane in the future,” Mr Wagner said. The wharf is expected to receive around 16 ships per year delivering raw material imports direct to the cement plant. To relieve congestion at the Port of Brisbane wharves, the Wagner Corporation wharf is open to third party access and has the potential for bulk fuel ships and gas delivery ships. There were more than 188,160 workforce hours on the project and the priority placed on safety saw zero Lost Time Injuries throughout the 18-month on site construction period. The fabrication and the structural deck units were manufactured in Wagners facilities at either Wellcamp Business Park, the Toowoomba workshop or the Wacol Precast facility. — Molly Hancock

Innovation at the forefront of Business Navigator’s Pitch Challenge The finalists’ innovations included ideas ranging from online legal services for contract checking to a clever Ute mounted picket driver fencing system. There were new concepts around Human Resources business models, drone technology and bespoke clothes design. Danielle Lloyd-Jones, one of the burgeoning entrepreneurs, said of the challenge “it’s re-booted my passion for my business idea and given me more confidence towards personal growth.” The Western Downs is alive with these vibrant innovators and this competition supports those locals with bright ideas for positive change in the future. Another of the judges, Michele Berkhout, Director of Corporate Solutions for TAFE Qld, commented that “the candidates have a laser focus on problem solving and a strong

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community connection. They are real drivers for the greater good and are making the most of their available resources”. The finals of the Business Navigator’s Pitch Challenge will see these nine finalists pitch their bright ideas to a panel of expert judges, in a bid to win one of the big cash prizes on offer. With category prizes of up to $10,000, this event is a real enabler for these regionally focused innovators. The Pitch Challenge Final will be held on November 29 at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre. The evening event promises to be a great networking event for existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, with business advice from industry leaders. To purchase tickets, please visit and register your interest at www.NavigatorWesternDowns.com

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NINE aspiring innovators with bright ideas are one step closer to making their business dreams a reality. Eighteen budding entrepreneurs made their pitches at the semi-finals of the 2018 Business Navigator’s Pitch Challenge recently to an experienced panel of judges. The participants had the opportunity to showcase their business ideas in three categories including Best New Business Idea, Best Growth Idea and Best Young Entrepreneur. The quality of competition was incredible with ideas not only creative but also commercially viable and exciting for the region. And the judges certainly were not short of inspirational ideas. “I am very impressed by the breadth and depth of ideas from new and innovative products to new business models,” judge David Masefield of Startup Toowoomba said.

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8

IN THE NEWS

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

We are extremely pleased with this announcement and support initiatives that remove barriers to investment...

$2 billion committed to growth

Funding access for small businesses TREASURER Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Michaelia Cash announced a $2 billion fund to transform small business access to funding on Wednesday. The Motor Trades Association of Queensland has welcomed the announcement to introduce an Australian Business Securitisation Fund and supports further discussion on the development of an Australian Business Growth Fund. MTA Group Chief Executive Dr Brett Dale said he was pleased with the announcement. “We are extremely pleased with this announcement and support initiatives that remove barriers to investment, especially where small to medium enterprises do not have access to the finance they need to start or grow their businesses,” he said. “There are some 15,500 automotive value chain businesses in Queensland and a huge segment of these are SMEs. “They employ more than 90,000 people and generate over $20 billion annually, so enhancing small business access to funding is an investment into the future of the automotive industry and the Australian economy.” MTA Queensland is an organisation in the State representing the specific interests of businesses in the retail, repair and

– Dr Brett Dale

◗ ABOVE: MTA Group Chief Executive Dr Brett Dale. RIGHT: The Motor Trades Association of Queensland welcomes the funding. PHOTOS: CLANCY HARRIP / CONTRIBUTED

service sector of Queensland’s automotive industry. “The new pool of capital will assist smaller banks and non-bank lenders to access more capital specifically for the sector,” he said. “This will ensure access to affordable capital that is essential for growth.” — James Liveris

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9

IN THE NEWS

Land safe for livestock...

...But there are still concerns: Simpkins ◗ WORRIED: Brock Simpkins.

unsafe for the cattle to be on the property. “We’re six years into the program with them and they reassure us that they have ongoing monitoring and observations on our property.” A QGC spokesperson said their Environmental Authority required that right of ways (ROW’s) must be stable, re-profiled to a level consistent with surrounding soils, re-profiled to original contours and established drainage lines, and vegetated with established and growing groundcover. QGC had made a small offer to Mr Simpkins’ parents that he said could be used in lieu of agistment to keep the cattle away so the ROWs could fully rehabilitate and re-establish their grass cover.

PHOTO: SAM FLANAGAN

“As part of our ongoing inspection and monitoring program, QGC staff identified subsidence on ‘Lincoln Park’ on October 23,” the spokesperson said. “A full inspection of the gathering ROW’s on the property was undertaken and subsidence identified was repaired, stabilised and reseeded. These works were completed on November 7. “QGC will continue to monitor and maintain its gathering ROW’s on ‘Lincoln Park’ to ensure compliance with its Environmental Authority. If any further subsidence is identified by QGC staff or reported by the landowner, it is logged and scheduled for rectification according to the nature and extent of the issue.” — Shannon Hardy

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WESTERN Downs farmer Brock Simpkins’ property has had further rehabilitation work done to his family property following reports that the land was left unsafe for livestock after gasworks. Surat Basin News spoke to Mr Simpkins earlier this month about his concerns that the land vacated by the Queensland Gas Company (QGC) was not of a fit state to take back his family’s cattle because of subsidence. QGC has since been back to the property to repair the damage. “They’ve been there and completed their work,” Mr Simpkins said. “In some spots its the fifth time in six years that they’ve had to rehabilitate some of the right-of-ways, which are the pipelines; but they have been in and completed that with their contractors again.” Despite the repair of the subsidence, Mr Simpkins said he still had more concerns for the safety of his cattle. “They believe it’s safe for the cattle to return home, according to their ecologists and their in house documentation and auditing processes, we believe it’s not.” Mr Simpkins said it was hard to say how long it would be


10

IN THE NEWS

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Juice company has sweet future plans MORE than 150,000 litres of cold-pressed juice could be made here in Toowoomba every year if a new factory is approved by the council. Established green juice producer Botanica Brands submitted plans recently to retrofit a disused warehouse on Heinemann Road, Wellcamp into a new fruit and vegetable coldpress juice production. According to Precinct Urban Planning’s Andrew Bullen, the new factory would source its produce from the Lockyer Valley and employ eight people. “The cold pressing process allows whole raw material to be pressed for liquid juice extraction, with the liquid then being bottled and pasteurised before distribution,” he said in his report. “Fruit and vegetables used in the process are to be sourced locally, principally from the Lockyer Valley, with total juice production totalling approximately 150,000 litres per annum. “No extensions are proposed to the existing building or changes to external areas, with the exception of formalising the existing gravel hardstand car parking area.” The process of creating the juice is also featured in the proposal, which included sorting and washing the produce, crushing or milling it, pressing it to extract the juice, filling into packages, pasteurisation and chilled storage before transportation. Botanica Brands is a boutique juice company, with products available at David Jones, Costco, the Qantas lounges and Harris Farm Markets. “Botanica partners with Australian farmers who we work tirelessly with to source the cleanest, freshest and in season all Australian fruit and vegies,” the website said. “Botanica applies years of artisan cold press knowledge to ensure rich chlorophyll, antioxidants and omega3s are extracted at optimum yield. “Because of this we feel confident we can offer the most nourishing and refreshing cold pressed juices in the country.” The council is yet to make a decision or request further information at this stage. — Tom Gillespie, The Chronicle

◗ PROPOSED: Botanica Brands wants to build a new cold-press juice factory in Toowoomba. PHOTO: BOTANICA

◗ GOOD NEWS: New Hope has called the Land Court decision a ‘positive’ for the company’s chances to expand the New Acland Coal Mine. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

Mine owner welcomes court result

A new hope for New Acland

NEW Acland Coal Mine owner New Hope Group has welcomed the latest decision from the Queensland Land Court on the mine’s expansion. Labelling Wednesday’s verdict “positive” for the mine’s future, the company said it would work with the Queensland Government to obtain an amended environmental authority relating to noise limits. “New Hope is pleased to advise that the Queensland Land Court has handed down a positive recommendation in respect of the New Acland Mine stage three mining lease and environmental authority amendment applications,” it said in an ASX release. “The Land Court has conditionally recommended that the mining leases and environmental authority amendment be granted subject to certain conditions including the co-ordinator-general first amending the noise limit conditions. “The recommendation is a positive step for the approval of the project. “There are still a number of further steps required in order to obtain final project approval.” Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said

the decision on New Acland now rested with the State Government. “The New Hope mine is one of the region’s most significant employers and one of the most important economic contributors for the Darling Downs,” he said in a statement. “This is new hope for New Hope and the 3000 workers who rely on the Acland Coal Mine for their living either directly or indirectly. “The Queensland Government will now make its final decision on the approval of New Acland stage three.” The comments come after Land Court President Fleur Kingham ruled that New Acland Coal had to apply to the Queensland Co-ordinator-General to change environmental authority conditions. If new noise conditions aren’t approved, most likely by May 31 next year, the Land Court will recommend refusing NAC’s application. Both sides of the issue described the decision as a small victory, with supporters highlighting the clear path it created, while protesters pointed out the tough conditions NAC would have to meet.

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IN THE NEWS

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Queensland shoots and scores

Rocket test launch deemed a success QUEENSLAND has taken a giant leap in establishing itself as a key Australian launching state after leading aerospace company Black Sky Aerospace successfully tested their Sighter190 rocket today in Westmar, five hours west of Brisbane. Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the launch was the first sub-orbital launch in the country with a commercial payload and would make use of the Logan-based company’s Rapid Deployment Sounding Rocket (RDSR) technology. “This Sighter190 research rocket is the first in Australia to catapult a commercial payload sky high, and that’s happening right here in our own backyard in Queensland,” he said. “Black Sky Aerospace is proof Queensland can play a leading role in designing and manufacturing rocket and satellite technologies, including for projects like data collection for the communications, farming and mining industries. “We want to promote Queensland’s capabilities to national and international space industry markets and today’s test at what is Australia’s only commercial sub-orbital launch site right here in our backyard is a substantial step forward in achieving that aim.” The four-metre long rocket blasted to an altitude of around 17,000 feet and reached 1.2 times the speed of sound at top speed. Mr Dick said the rocket was carrying a sensor suite from Hypersonix, another leading Queensland aerospace venture which has grown out of the world-leading scramjet work being undertaken at The University of Queensland. “This test launch is giving Hypersonix a rare and invaluable opportunity to test the behaviour of their advanced composite materials at a significant altitude,” he said. “The data collected from this test will help push the boundaries of hypersonic flight – a field with incredible potential to shape the future of transport and space travel.” Sensor packages from the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and DEKUNU Technologies were also on

board Black Sky Aerospace’s rocket. “Today’s launch is about testing the G-force load on these sensors and whether these sensors can withstand the impact and pressures of a rocket launch,” Mr Dick said. “Success paves the way for these sensors to be tested and potentially used on even greater missions, including into space. “This is about investigating whether Queensland products backed by Queensland-based companies and institutions can quite literally be taken to new heights.” Black Sky Aerospace Director of Operations Blake Nikolic said the benefits of Australia launching its own rockets includes revenue into local supply chains, ease of international regulatory burdens and decreased turnaround times.

‘‘

The Queensland Government is taking the lead in supporting development of the space sector in our state. “With a global market worth US$360 billion seeing exponential growth, Australia will naturally benefit by companies like BSA supporting the ever-growing satellite market and beyond,” he said. PFi General Manager of Defence and Aerospace and member of the government’s Queensland Space Industry Reference Group Nick Green said the test launch opened the door for realising the potential of Queensland’s growing space industry. “This test launch casts the spotlight on Queensland as a destination for high-tech industries and offers insight into what could be achieved if we allow these kinds of projects to flourish and progress,” he said. “The Queensland Government is taking the lead in supporting development of the space sector in our state.”

◗ ROCKET BOOM: Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure, and Planning Cameron Dick. PHOTO: MIKE RICHARDS

Coal prices drive New Hope’s annual profit In November last year, the company purchased 90 per cent of the north Queensland Burton Coal Mine’s four mining tenements and infrastructure from Peabody. Drilling work was undertaken on the tenements and the company is now seeking infrastructure access on appropriate terms. New Acland said significant positive progress was made during the year in achieving the long awaited New Acland stage three approvals. Firstly back in May 2018, the Supreme Court judicial review of the initial Land Court recommendation found grounds for review and ordered the original decision be set aside and the matter to be referred back to the Land Court for further consideration.

The Supreme Court decision is being appealed by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance Inc and this appeal is scheduled to be heard in February 2019. Most recently, New Hope said it was pleased to advise that the Queensland Land Court handed down a positive recommendation in respect of the New Acland Mine stage three mining lease and environmental authority amendment applications. In August, New Hope announced that it had reached a commitment with Wesfarmers to buy a further 40 per cent interest in the Bengalla joint venture for $860 million. This transaction was continuing through its pre-emptive rights process and should be completed about the end of the calendar year.

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NEW Hope Corp booked a record annual profit in 2017/18, driven by higher coal prices. The New Acland miner reported a six per cent rise in net profit to $149.5 million. Profit before tax and non-regular items, however, jumped 96 per cent to a record $361 million. The full year dividend totalled 14 cents, fully franked, up 40 per cent on the previous financial year. The company told shareholders at their recent annual general meeting it was well positioned to meet the growing energy demands of its Asian customers. It said its 2019 financial year targets included obtaining New Acland stage three approvals and completing the acquisition of a further interest in the Bengalla joint venture from Wesfarmers.


15

IN THE NEWS

Thursday, November 29, 2018 suratbasin.com.au

CSG compensation woes

Legislation changes are a worry: Houen CONCERNS have been raised over landholder compensation for CSG activity after changes to legislation passed Parliament last month. Toowoomba-based principal of Landholder Services Pty Ltd George Houen said changes to the Minerals, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act meant compensation entitlements for landholders’ neighbouring properties with CSG works had been restricted or removed entirely. He said it was all to do with one clause, which he said removed effects ‘relating’ to a person’s land. This, Mr Houen said, meant effects like noise or dust that didn’t recognise property boundaries, might not be compensatable. “A lot of people who might have very, very serious issues with excessive noise, or dust, or odours, or fugitive gases, or even flares... none of those things would give them any entitlement to compensation whatsoever under the amendment, whereas previously, ever since the legislation really began in 2004 that has been a compensatable effect.” In a statement, Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said access wouldn’t change. “Environmental nuisance impacts from resources activities,

◗ CONCERNS RAISED: Principal of Landholder Services Pty Ltd George Houen.

such as noise, dust and light, are dealt with through environmental authority conditions and alternative arrangements,” Dr Lynham said. “Neighbouring landholders who are affected by these impacts may be entitled to compensation through an alternative arrangement. “When the Parliamentary Committee first looked at the then-proposed changes, a few stakeholders, including the Queensland Law Society, raised compensation as a concern. “I note that in their latest submission to the Parliamentary Committee reviewing this Bill, the Queensland Law Society stated that they were satisfied with the policy intention regarding the effect and history of the provision in question.

PHOTO: BEV LACEY

“Landholders who are still uncertain about their rights with regard to resource activity should contact DNRME for assistance.” But Mr Houen disagreed, stating environmental authority conditions and alternative arrangements as other options for compensation were a “false claim”. “The environmental authority has got no legal relationship to the compensatable effects, it’s an entirely separate piece of legislation administered by a separate arm of government and it illustrates how careless the government has been in that it’s made that really inaccurate assertion in trying to brush off criticism of what it’s done.” — Brooke Duncan

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IN THE NEWS

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Harristown saleyard hits the market

City’s last saleyard is now up for grabs

THE last active cattle saleyard left in Toowoomba has now hit the market. Colliers International has listed the Elders saleyard and complex on South Street, Harristown for sale through an expressions of interest campaign. The 6.94 hectare site, which features yards for beef cattle, dairy, pork and calves, also included Elders’ office space and rural supplies store. Lead agent Dan Dwan said the site, made up of 50 individual titles, would suit either an investor or future developer. “The bigger picture is this is a cracking site for not only an investor to come into the market, but also as a potential for a development site,” he said. “The 50 titles across a site this size makes it more attractive for an investment or development point of view, because they don’t need to worry about significant infrastructure charges with lot configurations. “The lots were already sitting there, so it’s a fairly straight-forward development.” Elders will still remain on-site with an extended lease, though the agreement has early access provisions.

◗ LAST ONE STANDING: Toowoomba’s last operating saleyards, run by Elders, will hit the market as part of a widespread campaign through Colliers International. PHOTO: COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL

‘‘

The Toowoomba office won the Elders Branch of the Year two years ago, so it’s a strong office and there are heaps of staff there. Queensland livestock manager Paul Holm said Elders had a long history at the saleyard and in Toowoomba. “This is the last saleyard in Toowoomba – there used to be three and this is all that’s left,” he said.

“The Toowoomba office won the Elders Branch of the Year two years ago, so it’s a strong office and there are heaps of staff there. “In Toowoomba itself, there are at least 25 staff.” The saleyard currently processes about 30,000 animals every year. The expressions of interest period starts later this month and will run until December. For more information about the listing, phone Dan Dwan on 0418 799 792. — Tom Gillespie, The Chronicle

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OPINION

15th solar farm project gets green light WESTERN Downs Regional Council has given the go-ahead for the construction of a 15th solar farm. The proposal for a 148 megawatt solar facility at Cameby, 12km west of Chinchilla, on the Warrego Highway was approved this month. The 463.13ha site is currently used for grazing but it is not high-quality agricultural land. Mayor Paul McVeigh said the approval continued the council’s push for a diverse energy industry. “The Western Downs is committed to growing our energy sector,” he said. “This is the second solar farm which has been approved in as many months, showing our continued commitment to renewable energy.” The applicants for the Cameby solar farm have completed informal community engagement with the landowners and residents of neighbouring properties. The announcement follows the approval for a solar farm to be built at Columboola, between Miles and Chinchilla. The 100MW solar farm will be located on the Warrego Highway near Kerwicks Road. The projects are expected to create jobs in the region.

The ‘big’ power of a big community ROBYN HAIG

2018 was great, but 2019 looks even greater PAUL MCVEIGH

Manager, Chinchilla Community Commerce and Industry Inc

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor

WITH the recent arrival of the ‘Big Watermelon’ in Chinchilla, I’d like to take the time to acknowledge the contributions that have made it possible for our country town to win this prize. For anyone not aware, online accommodation booking service Wotif recently ran an Australia wide competition to choose Australia’s ‘Next Big Thing’. The campaign that was run on social media called for nominations and the Chinchilla Watermelon was chosen as one of the four finalists. Chinchilla went on to win as voted for by the public and an impressive eight-meter-long watermelon now sits alongside the Warrego Highway as it runs through Chinchilla. Winning a national vote is no mean feat for a town of less than 7000 people, it’s a testament to the reach of the bi-annual Watermelon Festival. This event, that has been running for more than 20 years, is a credit to the hard work and dedication of its volunteers. All those who have contributed their time and energies to build the festival up to the impressive event we now know are to be congratulated. There have been many of our local businesses who have benefited greatly from this event over the years and the sense of pride that it has built in the community is invaluable. Without all the work that has gone into the watermelon festival, it’s hard to imagine this local product would have the popular recognition and strong association with the town required to gain votes from all over Australia. It’s not long until we will see the Melon Festival back in Chinchilla from February 14-17, 2019 where thousands of visitors fill the town to enjoy an event built and run by volunteers.

‘‘

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Winning a national vote is no mean feat for a town of less than 7000 people...

IT HAS been another great month for the Western Downs. Huge announcements in our events and tourism sector have all of us looking forward to 2019. We had a terrific crowd gather at the stunning Jimbour House for the launch of Big Skies 2019. Following the success of the inaugural event earlier this year, Big Skies is back and begins with the famous Dalby Picnic Races on Saturday, April 27 at Bunya Park Racecourse. Day on the Plain at Jimbour House will again be the main attraction of Big Skies. Big Skies 2019 has a strong community focus and we want local groups to make the event their own. We’re inviting visitors to our region to explore everything great about the Western Downs. From regional tours to a campfire under the stars, there is a variety of entertainment on offer. The announcements did not stop there as our region was named home of Australia’s next Big Thing. After a national competition, travel company Wotif unveiled Australia’s newest tourist attraction in Chinchilla – The Big Melon. The Big Melon is a must visit tourist spot to capture your time in the country’s melon capital. Next year’s festival will be held from February 14-17 and I look forward to seeing thousands of people having their picture taken in front of The Big Melon. The Western Downs has continued its commitment to the energy sector by approving the construction of a 15th solar farm. The 148MW farm will be built at Cameby, 12km west of Chinchilla, and will boost jobs in the region creating a positive flow on effect for our communities. With our diverse energy sector, we are committed to cementing the Western Downs as the energy capital of Queensland. We are rapidly approaching the busy Christmas shopping season. Don’t forget that shopping with local businesses helps our Western Downs communities.

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OPINION

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Graduating seniors, well done ANN LEAHY

Member for Warrego

WELCOME to the latest edition of the Surat Basin News. The end of the year is just around the corner and the festive season is fast approaching. Our high school senior students are graduating and have completed 12 years of schooling – congratulations to all these students. I encourage all high school graduates to take a look at the updated and free Ann Leahy Scholarships Guide for 2018/19. Parents are also welcome to collect a copy of this free guide as they too play a very important role in the future pursuits of school leavers. Students, teachers or mature age students who wish to receive a copy of the guide can request it by email to warrego@parliament.qld.gov.au or hard copies can be obtained by phoning my electorate offices on 1800 814 479 or 1800 625 430.

Combating the heat in state school classrooms

While we are talking of school students – Queensland school children are set to be cooler under the LNP’s plan to install air-conditioning in every state school classroom in Queensland. Children and teachers east of a line from Mitchell and Bollon have been suffering in hot classrooms for too long. The recent heatwave brought temperatures over 41 degrees to the Warrego Electorate and high 30s for other parts of the state.

‘Punks’ turn to tech for CSG education IAN MCFARLANE

CEO, Queensland Resources Council

THE Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) recently visited Dalby and Chinchilla students to teach augmented reality in a 3D design challenge. The workshop for 100 local students at Dalby State High School’s Bunya Campus was a new activity designed by world-leading science technology engineering and maths (STEM) educators STEM Punks. In the workshop, students learnt about the process of CSG extraction and designed a gas pipeline in 3D space. They were able to review their designs using Augmented Reality (AR) in the classroom. They were also taught about Virtual Reality (VR) and its uses in remote maintenance and training. The used VR to ‘walk’ through a gas plant in 3D space and were challenged to resolve a maintenance issue with a gas valve. The QMEA is a partnership between the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program. It has 59 schools throughout Queensland. The students were mentored by staff from QMEA sponsor Arrow Energy. Arrow professionals hosted a water testing activity for students to identify water quality types. Students were able to gain an understanding of water guidelines in Queensland and how companies like Arrow met or exceeded those standards as part of their daily business. It was a good exercise for them to use equipment to differentiate water samples that look the same to the eye. Arrow has been a keen supporter of QMEA and their employees are able to provide the students with hands-on activities on how resources companies operate in their local region, and the exciting career possibilities in the sector. Students also programmed a LEGO EV3 robot to make a well head assessment remotely and were taught how drones work in resources and agricultural businesses. They were presented a problem and then asked to create a solution using drone technology. QRC is the peak representative body for Queensland‘s resources sector. The Queensland resources sector provides one in every six dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in eight Queensland jobs, and supports more than 16,400 businesses across the state, all from 0.1 per cent of Queensland’s land mass.

◗ SCHOOL’S OUT: The hard work is done. Now the graduating students on 2018 take celebrate.

Children and teachers swelter in classrooms with no air-conditioning. Queensland is a hot state and when governments can air-condition prisons, it should be good enough for our kids and teachers. This is why the LNP plan to air-condition every state school classroom in Queensland should we be elected to government in 2020.

Mineral and Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill

The Queensland Parliament recently passed the Mineral and

Estimator required to calculate compensation CAROLYN COLLINS

GasFields Commission CEO

THE GasFields Commission’s new GasApp and Compensation Estimator were years in the making. The need for an estimate tool became clear when Robert Scott conducted an independent review of the GasFields Commission and its functions in 2016. In his review Mr Scott noted that “when it comes to negotiating an amount of compensation in particular, there can be a real information asymmetry between a landholder and a CSG company as a CSG company will have negotiated many such agreements”. His investigations also found that “landholders expressed an overwhelming sense of powerlessness from the perceived imbalance in the land access framework and their inability to afford the legal and technical expertise necessary... to negotiate workable access arrangements and appropriate compensation”. No surprises then that one of the of key recommendations was that the Commission “develop an extension and communication program that leads to landholders becoming informed and self-reliant in their dealings with the CSG companies”. And so we did. The Compensation Estimator is just one of the tools we have built to meet that need. Resource companies all have their own unique ways of calculating compensation agreements so we decided to build a simple tool that landholders can use. By building the Compensation Estimator into a phone app it can be constantly reviewed and improved. It can be updated to include new legislation, court precedents, operational considerations and incorporate feedback from users, government and industry. Put simply, the Compensation Estimator is a good use of modern technology to fix an old-fashioned communications problem. Phone apps aren’t for everyone, we know that, but the Estimator is another important tool in a suite of information solutions the Commission is working on to, in the words of Robert Scott: “empower landholders in their negotiations and increase self-reliance”.

PHOTO: LUKA KAUZLARIC

Energy Resources (Financial Provisioning) Bill which seeks to manage the financial risk to the state if a mineral and energy resource tenure holder does not comply with their environmental management and rehabilitation obligations. The petroleum industry are also captured by this legislation. However there are questions as to whether or not the petroleum industry will be included on the future advisory committee. Also of concern is how the Chain of Responsibility legislation will now interact with the new legislation. The onus is now on the government to engage meaningfully with industry on these matters.

Grants set to flow to community groups DAVID LITTLEPROUD Member for Maranoa

REGIONAL community groups in drought-affected areas of Maranoa will be able to apply for a share of $15 million in Federal Government grants. The Coalition Government is investing $15 million in the Regional Drought Communities Small Grants Programme and I urge all eligible community organisations to apply. For vast regions of Maranoa, there will be no harvest, and where there is a harvest, it will be below average. That’s why we’re supporting community-based activities to relieve the stress. Small grants will be available to not-for-profit community groups to deliver projects in drought affected regions focusing on reducing social isolation, leadership development and skills training and other group-based activities. This funding builds on more than $1.8 billion in Federal Government funding for drought assistance since 2013. The first round of applications for community grants are open now. The distribution of the $15 million grant will be managed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. The Foundation will roadshow the Regional Drought Communities Small Grants Programme through grant seeker workshops, regional meetings and discussions with community groups. Further information on the program and grant opportunities may be found on the Foundation’s website at www.frrr.org.au/grants/tackling_tough_times_together or by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities website at www.infrastructure.gov.au.


Thursday, November 29, 2018 suratbasin.com.au

Enterprising talk as Christmas looms ALI DAVENPORT CEO, TSBE

TIME seems to have accelerated as we head into the lead up to Christmas and look forward to festive celebrations. This last month has been an especially busy one with TSBE hosting an extended Enterprise Evening in November about opportunities for businesses as part of the Inland Rail Project. With over 300 people in attendance it certainly was great to see so many businesses engaged with the idea that the Inland Rail Project offers so many benefits for our region, not just at the project completion but through the entire lifespan of the project. Our final Enterprise Evening for the year will be on December 13 at the Burke & Wills Hotel, Toowoomba to celebrate what a successful year it has been. Our Business Navigator Western Downs have also been busy working hard to make the Business Navigator’s Pitch Challenge a great success. This challenge is supporting local businesses in the Western Downs who have innovative ideas and our Business Navigator team have helped them to develop and grow those ideas. This is a three year program supporting business innovation, diversification and helping to stimulate job creation and showcasing talent in the region. The program, managed by TSBE, is an initiative fully funded and developed by Shell’s QGC Social Investment Program. The team behind Business Navigator Western Downs are Neil Daly and Suzie Wood, two professional business coaches appointed full-time and located in Chinchilla, who support up to 45 small-medium businesses or individual entrepreneurs based in the Western Downs. They provide one-on-one, face-to-face coaching to help locals evolve fledgling ideas into commercial products and thriving businesses. The finals of the Business Navigator’s Pitch Challenge saw nine finalists pitch their bright ideas to a panel of expert judges, in a bid to win one of the big cash prizes on offer. The quality of competition was incredible with ideas not only creative but also commercially viable and exciting for the region. And the judges certainly were not short of inspirational ideas. The Western Downs is alive with these vibrant innovators and this competition supports those locals with bright ideas for positive change in the future. TSBE enjoy working across the entire Surat Basin and Toowoomba region to link businesses with opportunities and helping to make sure that the diverse local industries enjoy sustainable growth.

21

OPINION

Buying and selling in the right market

Gas companies need to work with locals

ANDREW MCCALLUM

TYSON GOLDER

Real Estate Manager/Director, Ruralco Property GDL

THE number one question a real estate agent gets asked is this: How is the market at the moment? It’s a great question, but it generally depends on which part of the transaction we are talking about. A buyer’s market is a situation where supply exceeds demand, giving purchasers an advantage over sellers in price negotiation. The opposite of a buyer’s market is a seller’s market, a situation in which demand exceeds supply and owners have an advantage over buyers in price negotiation. Neutral real estate market is where the number of buyers and sellers are equalised, the scales don’t tip in either direction, meaning the market is normal without any volatile swings. Is the Real Estate market really that black and white? It can be a good time to sell your home in a buyer’s market depending on your position and what you are hoping to achieve. You can ask yourself a series of questions to work out what suits your personal situation at the time. What are you reasons for selling? Is it the right time for you to consider selling? What are your expectations? What time frame are you looking to sell in? Are you upgrading from your existing property and purchasing in a comparable market? Will you be able to afford to upgrade or move when the market starts trending upwards? Does anyone really know the bottom of the market and when it actually peaks or is it generally a 2-3 month lag time before we can actually properly identify the ups and downs?

The upside of selling in a buyers market...

■ Savings on selling charges ■ Have a better chance of negotiating a deal on the next property you buy ■ Savings on stamp duty ■ Savings on capital outlay ■ Savings on finance, upfront charges and repayments The market may not always be perfect when you decide to sell, however if you stick with the two non-negotiable principles – price and presentation, attracting competition and buyers; to achieve the best possible sale price in the market there can be some beneficial options that assist you in achieving a successful outcome earlier than expected. Don’t worry about things you can’t control like market cycles, concentrate on your ability to adapt and reap the rewards in changing markets and achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.

See who has been out and about in our Places and Faces section

Maranoa Regional Council Mayor

WELCOME to another edition of Surat Basin News and here we are at the end of another year. We know that life is speeding up when you speak with children and they comment on how the year has gone so quickly. Speaking in my personal capacity, I would like to talk about some feedback from businesses and the general public about the state of the general economy in the Maranoa region. Firstly, on a positive note I need to report the feedback that the gas service companies are very busy, which is very welcome, and the tradies and business connected to rural industries are also doing fairly well at the moment. However, people on the land are struggling incredibly with the season. Accommodation providers have picked up to what they were, but still are very patchy and housing has a long way to go. Feedback at the moment is that when the activity in gas companies is busy, the positives that would normally occur within the general community, accommodation, real estate and general business is not there because the major gas companies have accommodation policies that do not consider local support. Having spoken to numerous accommodation providers in our region there is a familiar topic that the gas companies do not proactively encourage workers to live in our community through every level of their organisations. More feedback comes from Yuleba and Wallumbilla, where they have camps holding 600 workers. There is no policy to support local accommodation providers and rent empty houses in those towns. Injune has the same issues where camps out of town are nearly full and there is no policy to support local accommodation and small businesses. The feedback from the community is they would like the major gas companies in our region – the decision makers – to appreciate that the decision to use camps has circumvented our communities in the Maranoa and is not helping support our communities. Businesses have suggested to me that gas companies will reduce costs by utilising local small business accommodation providers and community first, instead of staying in camps outside towns. Shell and QGC have a policy whereby any worker staying less than five nights in a camp in Chinchilla goes into town for accommodation at a local small provider. This has made a noticeable difference in the Western Downs area. Reports show that there are actually health benefits associated with staying in towns even if you are on a roster, which can be the first step in making the decision for bringing the whole family and becoming part of our community’s by relocating and staying together. On a personal note, I will always tell the truth about how our community is going as a whole, because that is the only way to make improvements. We need everyone working together to resolve any issues. Have a joyful, safe and peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year.

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PLACES AND FACES

◗ Louise Hiscock, Leigh Kenna and Belinda Raies.

suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

◗ Bridget Seawright and Angus Neville.

◗ Emily and Amy Dewsbury.

BUY PHOTOS

www.suratbasin.com.au/photos/buy

◗ RACES FACES: Robert and Tina Nichols, Kate Haddick, Jen Green, Michael Dimitrov and Justine Houston enjoy the Roma Cup. PHOTOS: JORJA MCDONNELL

◗ Stephen Haines, Dana Simpson and Stephanie Haines.

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◗ Steph Anderson, Teleigha Tucker and Sophia Meland.

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◗ Tavis Sharke-Jones, John Duff and Jack Schefe.


Thursday, November 29, 2018 suratbasin.com.au

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PLACES AND FACES

◗ Madeleine Alexandra and Toni Dickson.

◗ Mariska Deklerk and Nick Podmore.

◗ Peter Vogels, Ciska Van Den Berg and Tim Ford.

◗ Craig Baillie from USQ.

◗ FORUM CHAT: Bruce Vandersee, David Inderias and Georgie Uppington at the 400M Ag & Food Innovation Forum. PHOTOS: CONTRIBUTED

◗ Tim Neale and Dr Stuart Hazell.

◗ Wade Debinett, Emma Jackon and Graham Smith.

◗ Victor Dang, Toan Nugyen and Gina Dang.

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PLACES AND FACES

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suratbasin.com.au Thursday, November 29, 2018

Surat Basin News Published by Chinchilla Newspapers Pty Ltd 12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla, Q 4413 Printed by News Corp Australia, Murarrie General manager: Erika Brayshaw

Creek getting back to its best

Locals work to regenerate land NEW recruits at Wilkie Creek near Dalby are hard at work giving the coal mine a new lease on life as the site moves beyond mining. The 10 new recruits, all locals and Peabody employees, are part of a team busy transforming the once productive coal mine into a variety of post-mining land uses, including cattle grazing land. Peabody Australia president George J. Schuller Jnr said the new intake of employees shows Wilkie Creek is still an economic asset to the region despite working towards completion of rehabilitation works by 2023-2025. “Peabody understands that mining plays an important, but temporary role in the life of a region,” Mr Schuller said. “We take our commitment as responsible custodians of the land and good neighbours seriously and our progressive rehabilitation approach means we started rehabilitating the land well before the closure of Wilkie Creek in 2013.

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Peabody understands that mining plays an important, but temporary role in the life of a region.

◗ BACK ON TRACK: Work is continuing on the rehabilitation of Wilkie Creek mine.

“As members of the local community themselves, our team at Wilkie Creek is best placed to ensure the rehabilitated land fits with the surrounding country and continues to be a community resource long after last production,” he said. Local jobs are just one of the benefits of the rehabilitation

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

phase with Wilkie Creek still contributing around $6.05 million per annum in direct supplier spend to the Queensland economy, with approximately $2.7 million spent with local suppliers. Mr Schuller said Peabody strongly supports a “locals first” approach.

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“The team at Wilkie Creek are not only locals –most are farmers who have worked the land here and know what the soil and conditions respond to best.” The team has put their local knowledge to good work, methodically reshaping and stabilising disturbed areas, as well as monitoring and managing groundwater flows to prepare the rehabilitated land for cattle. “We have been conducting cattle grazing trials for more than two years now and our results have shown that the cattle grazed on our rehabilitated farming land have grown on par with those cattle grazed on native pastures,” Mr Schuller said. Mr Schuller explained Peabody’s mine closure approach involved working closely with local landholders and property managers to ensure the site continued to be productive post-mining.

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