Call for 10pc royalty on offshore gas amid boom

Original article by Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 22 : 14-Dec-18

The federal government gained $946m in revenue from the petroleum resource rent tax in 2017, according to data from the Australian Taxation Office. However, the McKell Institute estimates that revenue from the PRRT could increase by $2.8bn a year if a 10 per cent royalty were to be imposed on offshore gas projects. The left-wing think tank argues that the PRRT was designed primarily to encourage the development of marginal oil projects and has little relevance to Australia’s booming gas industry.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, McKELL INSTITUTE, CHEVRON CORPORATION, EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, ESSO AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, THE TAX INSTITUTE

PM’s big stick to be stuck in Senate

Original article by Greg Bright
The Australian – Page: 6 : 7-Dec-18

The Senate’s standing committee on economics will examine the federal government’s bill to force electricity retailers to divest assets after Labor referred it to the upper house. The lower house debated the bill on 6 December, before parliament rose for the year, but further debate will not be possible until early April as the committee is not slated to report on the bill until 18 March. Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen has accused the government of trying to push the bill through the lower house with no scrutiny and minimal debate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON ECONOMICS

Divestment powers put on fast track

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 6-Dec-18

Australia Energy Council CEO Sarah McNamara has flagged a possible legal challenge to the federal government’s legislation to force the divestment of energy assets. McNamara says there is still uncertainty regarding the constitutional validity of the bill, despite a compromise which will require the Federal Court to approve any application for asset sales. The bill is expected to be passed by the lower house after four crossbenchers backed a motion for it to be debated and voted upon before parliament rises for the year.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Morrison’s energy big stick cut down to size

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 4 : 5-Dec-18

The federal government has agreed to a compromise on its proposal to intervene in the electricity market. Following a Coalition joint partyroom meeting, the government has advised that the Federal Court will be required to approve any application for the divestment of energy assets if a power company is found to have manipulated electricity prices. Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says the policy would deter investment in the energy sector and have no impact on electricity prices. Several Liberal backbenchers have also expressed concern about the policy.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN ENERGY COUNCIL

Network CEOs strike back on power prices

Original article by Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 7-Nov-18

Energy Minister Angus Taylor will meet with the CEOs of power retailers on 7 November, where he will give them until 1 January to begin reducing electricity prices. Meanwhile, the CEOs of electricity network operators argue that regulated network costs have been cut significantly. TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano says its costs now comprise only 3.4 per cent of the average household electricity bill in New South Wales. Electricity retailers in turn argue that network charges, renewable energy subsidies and wholesale tariffs are the major contributors to high electricity bills.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY, TRANSGRID, AUSGRID PTY LTD, ORIGIN ENERGY LIMITED – ASX ORG, AGL ENERGY LIMITED – ASX AGL, ENERGYAUSTRALIA PTY LTD, ENDEAVOUR ENERGY LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION

PRRT changes may hold up oil and gas projects

Original article by Matt Chambers
The Australian – Page: 20 : 7-Nov-18

Macquarie Group expects Woodside Petroleum to be affected the most by the federal government’s changes to the petroleum resource rent tax’s uplift rate. Meanwhile, Saul Kavonic of Credit Suisse warns that the review of the PRRT’s transfer pricing rules is a greater material risk to the value of existing LNG plants than the increase in the uplift rate, due to the potential for any changes to be retrospective. Macquarie has also cautioned that the transfer pricing review – which is slated to take 12-18 months – could result in delays to oil and gas projects and impact on the sector’s future earnings.

CORPORATES
WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LIMITED – ASX WPL, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, SANTOS LIMITED – ASX STO

Bond investors like Labor’s franking cut

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 5 : 7-Nov-18

The Federal Opposition’s plan to abolish cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits if it wins the next election has widespread support among bond fund managers. Elizabeth Moran of FIIG Securities says the dividend imputation system has prompted many investors to be highly exposed to risker asset classes; she notes that while bonds offer lower yields, they also offer less volatility. Australian Securitisation Forum CEO Chris Dalton agrees that Labor’s policy will make bonds more attractive to investors.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, FIIG SECURITIES LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN SECURITISATION FORUM, REALM INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, ALTIUS ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, PLATO INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN STOCK REPORT LIMITED, ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Miners fear tax grab by Labor government

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 1-Nov-18

Gold Fields CEO Nick Holland has warned that the South Africa-based miner may reconsider future investment in Australia if a change of federal government results in an increase in the sector’s royalties and taxes. Gold Fields has a 50 per cent stake in the Gruyere gold project in Western Australia, while its other local assets include the St Ives, Granny Smith and Darlot gold mines. Meanwhile, Fortescue Metals Group CEO says mining companies need policy certainty to continue investing in Australia rather than offshore.

CORPORATES
GOLD FIELDS LIMITED, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, GOLD ROAD RESOURCES LIMITED – ASX GOR

Petrol: PM’s tough talk won’t work

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Angela Macdonald-Smith
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 31-Oct-18

The average price of unleaded petrol has risen to a 10-year high of more than $1.60 per litre. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged government intervention to put downward pressure on prices. However, he says it is ultimately up to petrol companies to "do the right thing". Caltex argues that the high crude oil price and the low Australian dollar are the main drivers of the spike in petrol prices. It adds that the government’s fuel excise tax of $0.412 a litre is also a major contributor, but government sources have ruled out an excise tax cut.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED – ASX CTX, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, VERTIUM ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF PETROLEUM LIMITED

Morrison to boost small end of town

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 29-Oct-18

The federal government is understood to be working on various measures aimed at assisting small business. They include helping small companies to get paid more quickly by larger firms, increasing their access to finance and improving dispute resolution with the Australian Taxation Office. Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan recently criticised suggestions that the ATO has a vendetta against small business, while Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert says the government will review measures aimed at protecting small businesses against unfair contract terms.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN