Industry group wants climate policy on agenda in wake of bushfires

Original article by Mike Foley
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 23-Jan-20

Energy Minister Angus Taylor will hold a roundtable meeting with representatives of the nation’s power companies on 23 January. They will discuss the industry’s response to the bushfires crisis. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox says the meeting should also address the issue of climate change. Craig Memery of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre says the agenda should include strategies to make the energy grid more resilient while avoiding a significant impost on consumers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, PUBLIC INTEREST ADVOCACY CENTRE

ABCC defends focus on pursuing unions

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 4 : 23-Jan-20

Labor senator Tony Sheldon has accused the Australian Building & Construction Commission of unfairly targeting unions, while failing to give sufficient attention to the unlawful conduct of employers. Data from the ABCC shows that it has spent $3.179m on legal proceedings against unions, officials and employees since 2016, and just $164,336 on legal action against employers. The ABCC has successfully prosecuted the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining & Energy some 86 times over this period.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

PM orders probe into McKenzie

Original article by Rosie Lewis, Olivia Caisley
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 23-Jan-20

The so-called ‘sports rorts’ scandal that has embroiled Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie has been referred to Philip Gaetjens, the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet. He will investigate whether McKenzie breached ministerial standards with regard to the allocation of sports grants in her previous role as sports minister. McKenzie has also been accused of a conflict of interests in giving a $35,000 grant to a clay target club of which she was a member. Labor contends that she may be in contempt of the Senate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF AGRICULTURE AND WATER RESOURCES, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

‘Incredibly traumatised’: Small businesses facing bushfire insurance maze

Original article by Emma Koehn
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 23-Jan-20

David Keane of Solve My Claim says some small businesses are likely to find that their insurance policy has limited coverage for some bushfire-related losses. He notes that many business owners do not know exactly what adverse events their policy covers, noting that many policies only cover profits rather than loss of revenue. Meanwhile, Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says insurers should be "reasonable" when assessing claims from customers who were not directly affected by the fires.

CORPORATES
SOLVE MY CLAIM, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY

Malcolm Turnbull slams PM’s response to climate change and bushfires

Original article by Bevan Shields
The Sydney Morning Herald – Page: Online : 23-Jan-20

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has used a BBC interview to criticise his successor Scott Morrison over his handling of the bushfires crisis. Amongst other things, Turnbull has accused Morrison of misleading the public by downplaying the impact of climate change on the bushfires. He has also questioned why Morrison had ignored warnings from fire experts about the likely severity of the bushfire season. Turnbull has also called US President Donald Trump the world’s "leading climate denier" and doubled down on his criticism of News Corp’s stance on climate change.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Tourism’s $6.5bn pain: our worst summer ever

Original article by Emily Ritchie, Lisa Allen
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 23-Jan-20

Tourism Australia will launch a new domestic marketing campaign to bolster the local tourism industry in the wake of the bushfires crisis. Industry executives have estimated that the bushfires have cost the sector about $2bn to date; this takes into account factors such as lost revenue, cancelled bookings, and facilities that have been damaged or destroyed. It is also forecast that the impact of cancelled bookings by international tourists could potentially cost the economy an additional $4.5bn over the next 12 months.

CORPORATES
TOURISM AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN TOURISM INDUSTRY COUNCIL

Massive clean-up bill set to top $320m

Original article by Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 4 : 22-Jan-20

Insurers are facing another hit in the wake of the bushfires crisis, with storms wreaking havoc in several states on 20 January. Some 29,000 claims for storm damage have been received to date, including more than 16,000 arising from a hailstorm in Canberra. A hailstorm in New South Wales has also resulted in about 2,900 insurance claims, while storms and flash flooding in Victoria have prompted more than 9,800 claims.

CORPORATES
INSURANCE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Packer, Ho told to front Crown inquiry

Original article by Deborah Cornwall
The Australian – Page: 3 : 22-Jan-20

Businessman James Packer has been ordered to appear before the New South Wales Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority’s inquiry into Crown Resorts’ casino operations. Macau-based gambling tycoon Lawrence Ho has also been asked to appear before the inquiry, which was prompted by Packer’s decision to sell a 19.9 per cent stake in Crown to Ho’s Melco Resorts. This deal will be scrutinised by two of the inquiry’s five separate hearings, amid concern that the transaction could potentially breach Crown’s NSW gambling licence. Other hearings will examine issues such as allegations of money-laundering.

CORPORATES
CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN, MELCO RESORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT LIMITED, NEW SOUTH WALES. INDEPENDENT LIQUOR AND GAMING AUTHORITY

PM: cut fire fuel, not just emissions

Original article by Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 22-Jan-20

Prime Minister Scott Morrison argues that undertaking bushfire hazard-reduction burns is just as important as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, he notes that unlike carbon emissions, there is no national system for reporting progress on reducing fuel loads in national parks and forests. The issue of prescribed burning has come under scrutiny in the wake of the bushfires crisis, which has claimed 29 lives to date. Labor leader Anthony Albanese claims that climate change has contributed to the intensity of the bushfires and the length of the bushfire season.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Bushfire loans, grants should be easier to get, small businesses say

Original article by Nick Bonyhady
The Age – Page: Online : 22-Jan-20

Small business owners in bushfire-affected areas have criticised the excessive amount of paperwork required to apply for the federal government’s concessional loans and grants. Shadow small business minister Brendan O’Connor says the government needs to provide greater clarity as to eligibility for the grants and loans, and when businesses will begin to receive financial assistance. The government will also make 10 financial counsellors available, but O’Connor says this is clearly inadequate given that the bushfires have affected about 200,000 small businesses.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY