Virtual trade events deliver the goods for Aussie agribusiness exporters

Source: Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade

Virtual trade events deliver the goods for Aussie agribusiness exporters

22 Jan 2021
Australian agribusiness exporters are swapping their passports for their PCs and going online to find new markets and customers.
With international travel off limits for now, virtual trade events are delivering new opportunities for Australian businesses to diversify and expand their markets.
Showcasing Aussie F&B in Japan
Australia’s top-quality food products were a hit at a virtual showcase in Japan organised by Austrade. More than 140 Australian businesses participated in the Australian Food & Beverage Virtual Showcase Japan 2021. Held from 1 to 31 March 2021, the online showcase reached around 1,800 buyers across Japan.
While many of the companies in the showcase were already exporting to Japan, it is a new market that is highly promising for others.
For instance, Japan’s cultural familiarity with dried meat products makes it an auspicious market for Chief Nutrition, which produces red-meat based products such as biltong and jerky. Similarly, Brunswick Aces is hoping to capitalise on the growing moderation movement in Japan to find buyers for its non-alcoholic gin.
Tasmanian winery Moorilla secured an order from Japan after participating in the virtual showcase.
Drinking to success in Taiwan
Moorilla has also found new customers in Taiwan after participating in a virtual wine showcase in November 2020 organised by Austrade.
‘The Taiwan event has been very good for us,’ says Conor van der Reest, Winemaker and General Manager, Moorilla/Domaine A. ‘We have our first order going out today, another one in the order stage and another party seeking samples! It’s been a fantastic reception for our brands and I think Tasmania in general!’
Business matching in the US
Over in the US, Austrade worked with US retail marketer ECRM to develop and deliver a virtual meeting program for Australian red meat and seafood producers. Each producer was assigned a manager who set up meetings and provided pre-meeting information.
Over two days in April, producers had 10–20 minute virtual meetings with American retailers. These meetings were conducted using ECRM’s customised platform, which featured video conferencing, meeting management and documentation. Post-meeting, retailers can use the platform to request samples, order products and continue their conversations with producers.
Upcoming events
Austrade is organising several virtual seminars and events to help agribusiness exporters diversify and grow their business, including four regional trade events in 2021.
Webinar: ASEAN Market Update for Agri-food Exporters, 29 April
Join Austrade’s ASEAN team from Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines to learn about the current state of play in specific markets. Hear key insights and information on how the Government is supporting Australian agri-food exporters impacted by trade disruptions to upscale and diversify their businesses across new international markets.
Register now
Australia India Business Exchange
Australian food and agriculture is highly regarded in India. There is demand for premium food and beverage; health supplements and nutraceuticals; and agricultural commodities. Visit the Australia India Business Exchange webpage for event updates throughout 2021. 
Assistance for agribusiness exporters
The Australian Government is funding $73 million to support Australian farmers, fishers, foresters and other food and agribusiness exporters. As part of the Agribusiness Expansion Initiative, we’re scaling up Austrade services. Visit the Agribusiness Expansion Initiative webpage for more information.
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Austrade helps Australian road-tech company accelerate into India

Source: Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade

April 2021
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Road safety technology company Acusensus is on a mission to reduce road deaths globally – and it recently cracked the Indian market. Key success factors included:
Finding a local partner with shared corporate values
Working with Austrade to gain introductions to state and federal officials.
‘I think India provides a really unique opportunity to make an impact with our technology,’ says Alexander Jannink, Acusensus Managing Director. ‘It is a market that is in some ways challenging … but it’s also a market that is eager to work with Australian companies.’
Austrade is helping Australian businesses expand into India through the Australia India Business Exchange (AIBX) program. Find out how to get involved. Contact Austrade online or call 13 28 78.
Australian road-safety AI gains global traction
When Alexander Jannink’s friend was killed by a distracted driver in the US, Jannink saw an opportunity to improve road safety. Across the world, around 1.35 million people die each year due to road traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organisation. Distracted driving – which includes using a mobile phone – is increasingly a leading cause of deaths.
In 2018, Jannink and Ravin Mirchandani co-founded Acusensus to develop an automated camera system that could capture dangerous driving behaviour. The company developed and deployed the world’s first mobile phone enforcement program in New South Wales, which went live in 2019. Acusensus’s solutions harness artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive behavioural change.
With its vision of making a global impact, Acusensus is now working with governments and transport authorities in Europe, the US, Southeast Asia and the United Arab Emirates.
Three years of steady engagement pay off in India
India has a high rate of road accidents, with an estimated 299,000 road deaths per year, according to the World Health Organisation. Meanwhile, Acusensus was keen to enter the market.
Over several years Austrade arranged introductions to well-placed Indian federal and state government officials. In early 2021, Acusensus’s first deployment in India went live, after three years of planning and negotiation.
‘Winning this important contract would not have been possible without Austrade’s advice and support,’ says Ravin Mirchandani, Acusensus Chairman.
A test bed for Australian technology
The Indian Government has installed a ‘road safety corridor’ along a 30-kilometre stretch of road modelled on an Australian road corridor, as part of the Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project. Acusensus has now deployed a speed-enforcement system along the corridor. It comprises radar-based mobile speed enforcement camera trailers and fixed installations.
In partnership with Ador, India’s largest provider of traffic safety and enforcement solutions, Acusensus developed the solution for the Indian market. It requires minimal power and no fibre optic data cables. Acusensus also worked closely with SaveLIFE Foundation, an Indian not-for-profit working to improve road safety. 
‘By being involved on the ground innovating for and with India, we believe we can make a huge difference in starting to bring down the road toll,’ says Jannink. ‘We also hope this will open doors for other model safety corridor projects that can involve other Australian companies.’
Four keys to success in India
Four factors were critical to Acusensus’s success:
Selecting a partner with shared values
Acusensus’s partnership with Ador was especially important during COVID-19, because the Acusensus team couldn’t travel to India.
‘Choice of partner is critical, so don’t rush it,’ says Mirchandani. ‘Find a partner that aligns with your values.
‘Keep in mind that a lot of the work a local partner is doing on the ground isn’t being seen. So being aligned on values helps with that trust and communication.’
Designing a market-specific solution
Mirchandani says Indian governments are receptive to Australian technology, particularly in road safety.
‘Market-focused technology is critical,’ says Jannink. ‘Take the market seriously and understand it is different and probably needs a unique approach.’
‘It is a market that is in some ways challenging but it has the ability to provide a great set of opportunities for a business,’ says Mirchandani. ‘It is also a market that is eager to work with Australian companies.’
Having patience in the process
Mirchandani comments that a strategic approach often works best in India. This means taking a long-term view and adopting a step-by-step approach. 
‘India is a market that requires investment to understand the local context of where you can make a difference, and … to align your offering with that,’ he says. 
Leveraging local connections
Building personal relationships with the right people in India has been vital for Acusensus. 
‘That’s where Austrade has played a really important role,’ says Jannink. ‘We’ve worked with Austrade not just in India but across the world in a lot of the emerging markets we’re looking for. 
‘Austrade can facilitate a warm introduction, which makes it so much easier. It ensures a softer landing.’
Austrade networks generate vital contacts in India
Acusensus’s relationship with Austrade goes back to the company’s very beginning. Austrade connected Jannink with Mirchandani when he was looking to establish the business in 2017. Since then, Austrade has provided market knowledge, facilitated connections and assisted with funding access throughout the company’s export journey. 
‘Austrade’s network has been phenomenally helpful,’ says Jannink. ‘With Austrade, you don’t have to go it alone. There are skilled people who can help you articulate what you’re wanting to achieve and support you in finding the best market.’
Looking ahead, Acusensus is leveraging its success in India to enter new markets. 
‘The unique speed enforcement solution we developed for India has presented major opportunities to export into other emerging markets, particularly Africa,’ says Mirchandani.
Africa has the highest rates of road deaths in the world. Acusensus hopes to bring its innovative Australian technology to improve road safety and ultimately save lives.
How Austrade can help
Austrade is ramping up initiatives to help Australian companies export to India. This is because opportunities are growing fast. 
Market liberalisation is affecting multiple sectors of the Indian economy – from mining to passenger transport. India is on target to become a US$5 trillion economy by 2025. 
To help Australian businesses explore and pursue opportunities, the Australian Government has launched the Australia India Business Exchange (AIBX) program. 
AIBX provides insights, advice, and business connections to grow two-way trade and investment between Australia and India. 
Find out how to get involved in AIBX. Contact Austrade online or call 13 28 78.
About Austrade
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) is the Australian Government’s international trade promotion and investment attraction agency.
We deliver quality trade and investment services to businesses to grow Australia’s prosperity. We do this by generating and providing market information and insights, promoting Australian capability, and facilitating connections through our extensive global network.
To discover how we can help you and your business, visit austrade.gov.au or contact us at info@austrade.gov.au or on 13 28 78 (within Australia).

Israel’s IAI enters into JV with Australian mining services company

Source: Australia Government – AusTrade

Israel’s IAI enters into JV with Australian mining services company

22 Apr 2021

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has entered into a joint venture with Australia’s Bis to launch Auto-mate, a new company that will provide autonomous systems to the mining industry.

The partnership will combine Bis’ operational and logistics capabilities with IAI’s autonomous technologies. IAI’s technologies have been used in heavy off-road vehicles in remote and harsh environments, making it a good fit for mining operations.

Auto-mate will offer solutions tailored to each mining operation’s requirements. Auto-mate’s system can connect any asset to the fleet management system, regardless of the level of automation, type, brand, or age of the asset.

The system will enhance safety and productivity in the mining industry, and provide users with detailed data to optimise their operations.

‘The interoperable and scalable system is the perfect union of cutting-edge technology and practical applications,’ says Yoav Turgeman, IAI VP and CEO of ELTA. ‘Auto-mate will deliver a flexible approach to automation, delivering usability for multiple levels of automation across all haulage assets and ancillary equipment, with one central command centre.’

‘The team was excited to join forces with another leader in innovation to bring this offering to the Australian and global market,’ says Brad Rogers, CEO, Bis. ‘We are thrilled to be working alongside IAI on this industry-first for mining automation.’

Austrade played a pivotal role in bringing IAI and Bis’ JV to fruition. Austrade provided market and customer research and analysis, connected IAI with relevant industry and government officials within Australia and targeted relevant companies for the JV.

Austrade has worked with IAI since 2013 to pursue a partner in Australia for autonomous/robotic mining and introduce potential partners and relevant institutions. Over the last two to three years, Austrade has assisted IAI to expand its presence in Australia and advised on ways and opportunities in which it can expand its role within Australia’s defence ecosystem.  

Find out more about investing in Australia or contact Austrade for more information.

More information

Australian businesses still reluctant to recruit older workers

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

New research published by the Australian HR Institute, together with the Commission, shows almost half of Australian businesses say they are reluctant to recruit older workers.

The report, Employing and Retaining Older Workers, surveyed 604 human resources professionals and business leaders. 

46.7 per cent of respondents said their organisation would be reluctant to recruit workers over a certain age, although the specific age barrier varied among respondents.

Age Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Kay Patterson said the findings show too many businesses are still missing out on the advantages that come from hiring and retaining older workers.

“Older workers bring professional knowledge and experience to the workplace. Sixty per cent of respondents said the departure of older workers had caused a loss of key skills in their organisation, yet businesses are still failing to learn this lesson. 

“Age diverse workplaces are good for business and for the economy. Failing to hire and retain older workers is a missed opportunity for everyone,” Dr Patterson said. 

The report also found the age at which workers are considered ‘older’ is becoming progressively younger.

28 per cent of respondents defined an “older worker” as 61 to 65 years old, making it the most commonly nominated age range. 

However, almost 17 per cent classified older workers as 51 to 54 years old in 2021, a six-percentage-point jump since 2018.

This is despite more workplaces reporting they have an older workforce. 12.3 per cent said more than half their workforce was over 50 years old, an increase of 6.3 per cent since 2018. 

The report showed a satisfying, ongoing drop in the numbers of organisations who say they ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ have an age above which they are reluctant to recruit, down 24.8 percentage points since the 2014 survey. 

Fewer than a third of business leaders said they consulted with older workers on issues of specific concern to their workplace.The Australian HR Institute’s CEO, Sarah McCann-Bartlett said the survey’s results highlight the persistent prevalence of ageism within Australian businesses. 

“Our research has shown that a disproportionate number of older workers are facing discrimination in the workforce, which is an issue that unconscious bias plays a big part in. 

“Ageism against older workers doesn’t even necessarily stem from negative feelings – older people are often viewed as loyal and reliable. However, when nearly a quarter of businesses don’t actively implement any recruitment practices to encourage age diversity, ageism is the inevitable result,” Ms McCann-Bartlett said.

You can view the full report on the Australian HR Institute’s website: https://www.ahri.com.au/resources/ahri-research/employing-older-workers-report-2021/

Greater scrutiny of emergency powers needed

Source: Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission has called for greater accountability to be embedded in laws that extend the Commonwealth’s power in the event of national emergencies.

In its submission to a Senate inquiry examining the National Emergency Declaration Act 2020, the Commission recommended five changes to legislation that was enacted by parliament last year. 

Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said the laws, which empower the Australian Government to act quickly and unilaterally during national emergencies, must include appropriate checks and balances.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door to a creeping authoritarianism in some other countries. We must ensure our own government is accountable in using special powers during a national emergency,” Commissioner Santow said.

“Emergency powers can limit human rights, such as freedom of movement, in order to address an immediate health or other crisis. There needs to be effective scrutiny when government and Ministers use such powers. Any emergency restriction on human rights should remain in place for the minimum time necessary to address the crisis.”

The Act aims to clarify and consolidate the Commonwealth’s emergency powers and establish a framework by which the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister, may declare a national emergency and trigger the Commonwealth’s ability to exercise emergency powers. 

The Commission’s submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry recommended five changes to the Act, including:

  1. Amendments to limit the number of times a national emergency declaration may be extended, and to require immediate review if it is extended more than once.
     
  2. Inserting a definition for the terms ‘emergency’ and ‘Commonwealth interests’ to make clear when a national emergency may be declared or extended.
     
  3. Amending section 15 of the Act so that ministerial power to dispense with administrative requirements in Commonwealth legislation is conditional on Parliament not being able to sit within a suitable period of time and is proportionate to the need created by the emergency.
     
  4. Whenever a national emergency is declared, a special parliamentary committee should be formed to examine how emergency powers are exercised under the Act.
     
  5. Removing the ability for Ministers to make ‘non-disallowable instruments’, so that Parliament can scrutinise the exercise of the Minister’s powers in the usual way.
     

You can read the Commission’s submission on the National Emergency Declaration Act 2020 on our website: https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/legal/submission/review-national-emergency-declaration-act-2020-cth  

For more information, email media@humanrights.gov.au or phone (02) 9284 9700.

Arrest – Multiple unlawful entries – Alice Springs

Source: Northern Territory Police

Officers from Strike Force Viper have arrested and charged a man in relation to multiple unlawful entries in Alice Springs earlier this week.

It is alleged the 18-year-old man unlawfully entered four separate residential properties in Sadadeen during the daytime on Monday.

The man was arrested and charged with four counts of Unlawful entry, four counts of Damage to property and one count each of Stealing, Possess Schedule 2 Dangerous Drug and Breach of Suspended Sentence.

Detective Senior Sergeant Evan Kelly of Strike Force Viper said “Some great initial work by uniform members and our forensics section allowed for early identification of the alleged offender.”

“This resulted in a swift arrest by Strike force Viper members and the prevention of further unlawful entries being committed in the area.”  

Doorstop Interview, Caversham Wildlife Park, Perth

Source: Australian Treasurer

DEAN SMITH:

My name is Senator Dean Smith, I’m delighted to welcome Josh Frydenberg back to Western Australia and back to Caversham Wildlife Park and Zoo, one of Western Australia’s premier tourist attractions, home to 2,000 animals from across 200 species, home of Jess the wombat and Lockie the koala. This is an important demonstration of the success of the Coalition’s JobKeeper program, 35 employees signed up to JobKeeper, this is a significant success story for why the Coalition Government’s economic recovery plan has been good for Australia and particularly good for Western Australia. 4.6 million visitors have visited Caversham Wildlife Park since it was created, many of them international tourists. This is a fantastic story about the Coalition Government’s recovery plan for Australia and for Western Australia. I’m delighted to invite Deb, one of the Thorne family, who is responsible for the care and maintenance, the wonderful operation of this fantastic tourist attraction.

DEB THRONE-MORLEY:

Thank you Treasurer, Vince, Dean. Thank you, welcome to the Park. It’s great to have you all here, thank you. We’re pleased to be able to have you onsite and spend some time in a workplace that has benefited from JobKeeper. It’s been a lifeline so thank you very much and we’re pleased we can spend the day with you here today.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:  

Well thanks very much Deb, to you Dave and to the entire family for your warm hospitality in having us here today and thank you to my colleagues, Dean Smith and Vince Connelly for joining me. This is another success story. As Deb said, JobKeeper helped keep 35 people employed in this business. And the other Morrison Government support including for wildlifes and parks, zoos and other sanctuaries and aquariums that helped feed the animals at a time when the doors have been closed to the public. But the good news for this wildlife sanctuary as well as other parks around the country is that the tourists are starting to come back. Now while the international borders are closed, that’s obviously difficult for international tourism, but having flown from Sydney yesterday into Perth, the plane was full. The plane was full of people coming to visit Western Australia and it would be great for them to come and spend some of their hard earned dollars here in this wonderful wildlife park. And as you said, I got to meet Lockie, the koala, who hanged on pretty tight and Jesse the wombat who is also great. And to have Deb at my side, in case anything went wrong was a great relief.

I’m here in Western Australia, following a visit from the Prime Minister last week, to say a big thank you. A big thank you to the people of Western Australia for supressing the virus, for keeping Western Australians employed and for helping make the Australian economy stronger. Western Australia punches above its weight. It represents 10 per cent of the nation’s population, yet 15 per cent of the nation’s economy and around 50 per cent of goods exports from Australia come from this one state, Western Australia. Indeed, Western Australia sends enough iron ore a year to China to make 10,000 Sydney Harbour Bridges. It’s been incredible to see the strength in the agricultural sector here in Western Australia, in the construction sector and in the mining sector. Indeed in the housing sector we’ve seen 20,000 applications to HomeBuilder here in Western Australia alone and that will support billions of dollars of activity across the Western Australian construction sector. Indeed, we’ve seen 150 per cent increase in dwelling approvals over the last year alone. And this is helping to contribute to the fall in Western Australia’s unemployment rate. Western Australia’s unemployment rate hit 8.7 per cent last June and is down to 4.8 per cent, the lowest of any state across the country. That’s a good sign for Western Australia, but it’s also a good sign for the Australian economy. Now JobKeeper had to end. It was always a temporary, a targeted program, initially for six months, we extended it for 12 months. But with JobKeeper coming off there are other programs in place that are designed to boost economic activity across the economy. The incentives for business investment, the loss carry back measure that we’ve put in place, the more than 300,000 training places, the apprenticeship program where we put in place support for 100,000 new apprentices thinking it would take a year for those numbers to be taken up, they were taken up in just five months. So we’ve now put more money into our apprenticeship program. All those measures will be built on in the Budget in just a couple of weeks’ time. The Budget is all about jobs and all about services. Creating more jobs for Australians but also guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on. Are there any questions?

QUESTION:

Treasurer, it seems like we’re witnessing a conga line of federal politicians arriving from Canberra, why is WA feeling the love all of a sudden?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well now the borders are open and it’s more easy to travel, that’s the reality of that. We obviously were in the middle of a storm last year with the terrible COVID pandemic at its peak. Both Scott Morrison and I were effectively chained to our desks in Canberra. This year, where we get the opportunity to get out and about, we will. And the Prime Minister spent a number of days here last week. I’m here this week, more federal politicians from other states will be here in the weeks ahead. Western Australia is a great success story. And as I said, the unemployment rate has come down. I’m also taking the opportunity here to catch up with Mark McGowan, the Premier, he’s also the Treasurer, and so I’ll look forward to working with him just as the Prime Minister does.

QUESTION:

He no doubt will be asking you to guarantee WA’s GST arrangements, can you do that, can you guarantee they won’t change?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Yes.

QUESTION:

And is an extension of the low and middle tax offset guaranteed in the Budget?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

I’m not getting into the game of ruling in or ruling out particular measures that may or may not  appear in the newspapers in the weeks leading up to the Budget. You always get that level of speculation. I can say a couple of things though. The Coalition is the party of lower taxes. We took to the last election, a series of tax reforms, that would see a whole tax bracket abolished. 37 cents in the dollar tax bracket abolished, creating one big tax bracket from $45,000 to $200,000 with a marginal rate of no more than 30 cents in the dollar. We’ve legislated, we’ve legislated those tax cuts. It’s now up to Anthony Albanese to say whether he supports the fact that those tax cuts have been legislated and whether he will stay true to that. In last year’s Budget, which was a little over six months ago, we announced that we were bringing forward by two years those stage two of the tax cuts, as well as putting an extra year of what is called the low and middle income tax offset. That’s now putting money into people’s pockets, that’s providing more than a billion dollars extra a month into people’s pockets.

QUESTION:

Further extending the offset makes both economic and political sense though doesn’t it? I mean, Australia mid-pandemic can’t afford a budget that leaves 10 million Australians worse off.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

The Coalition is always the party of lower taxes. That’s our record. And that will continue to be the message and the policies that we deliver going forward.

QUESTION:  

Is keeping the cash flow going and the spend going, the be-all and end-all at the moment, whatever the cost?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well confidence is cheapest form of stimulus because we know $240 billion is built up on household and business balance sheets that was not there this time last year. So by keeping the domestic borders open, by seeing business investment continue to be made and consumers continue to spend, that is the best form of economic activity. We’ll put incentives in place where it’s possible to do so but we’re focused on driving that unemployment rate down. I don’t need to remind you that even as recently as the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook last December, Treasury thought that the unemployment rate over the March quarter would be as high as 7.5 per cent. It’s now 5.6 per cent. The labour market has very much surprised on the upside. There’s been an enormous amount of resilience. You remember everyone calling for us to extend JobKeeper. Well, the early signs,  and it’s still too early to reach a definitive position,  is that we haven’t seen those long lines outside Centrelink that the economy’s finding its level, people are getting back to work, businesses are reopening, and Australia has outperformed all major advanced economies across the world.

QUESTION:  

At what point will you have to start repaying debt though?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we have obviously announced a fiscal strategy in the lead-up to last year’s Budget. I will make a speech in the lead-up to this year’s Budget where I will talk about that fiscal strategy. But the best way to repair the Budget is to repair the economy. And last year, we were standing on the edge of an economic abyss. Treasury thought the unemployment rate could reach as high as 15 per cent. That economic growth could fall by more than 20 per cent. Fortunately we avoided the worst fate that we saw in other countries across the world. Australia on both the health and the economic front has done so much better than other countries.

QUESTION:  

On iron ore, can more be done to get those profits back to WA taxpayers? Kevin Rudd suggested a super tax on the big miners?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well we have been there before with the Labor Party. As you know, they’ve tried and failed to introduce an increased tax burden on some of the most productive companies across the country, our resources industry. So, the Labor Party, we know they believe in higher taxes. They were the policies they took to the last election. Don’t look at what they say, look at what they do. And they tried to introduce a super profits tax and they took to the last election higher taxes on your superannuation, on your housing, on your income, on your retirement savings as well. We, on the other hand, went to the last election promising lower taxes, which we have delivered. Now is not the time for an increased tax burden on those resource companies. The resource sector operates in cycles. There are some times, like today, when we are seeing higher prices for iron ore and for other commodities. There are other times when we see significantly lower prices and what we want to see is investment over the period of the cycle, not a punishment for companies at a time where they are doing better than previous times.

QUESTION:  

Treasurer, what is the current iron ore price?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

About $170. And obviously the contrast with that free on-board price is what we put in the Budget. And we were pretty conservative at the Budget at about a $55 a tonne iron ore price. So, obviously there’s been a greater boost to the revenue take of the Commonwealth as a result of the higher iron ore price. But we have always been conservative with the iron ore price and so too has the State Government that benefits greatly from the royalties.

QUESTION:

With the growing COVID numbers in India, is it time we suspend flights from there?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well we have always taken the health advice when it comes to border closures. And we moved very quickly. People say Australia has done well because we’re an island. Well, the UK is an island and they haven’t done as well as Australia has. Scott Morrison took the decision early on to close the border with China and that’s been to Australia’s great benefit. So we will continue to take that health advice, decisions about India or other countries are matters for the chief medical officers and ultimately for National Cabinet.

QUESTION:  

You did say this morning though, how crucial it is for Australia to be the destination of choice when the international borders reopen, when does that need to happen to ensure we’re not left behind other nations?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Again, it will be based on the medical advice. We’re rolling out the vaccine. That’s obviously important, more than 1.7 million Australians have received already the first dose of the vaccine. But Australia is in a better position than other countries in that the virus is not running rampant across the country. Our ability to isolate those specific cases when they occur, to avoid closing state borders will continue to see our economy recover. That’s the momentum that we’re focusing on. Obviously with the international borders being closed, that impacts businesses like the one we’re at today. That impacts other tourism businesses, that impacts the airlines, that impacts international education. We have put in place a number of support packages to help those industries. As you know with the tourism sector, we put in place the half price airfares. They have sold like hot cakes. People are now making their way for domestic travel. That’s bringing in dollars to businesses right across that tourism supply chain. For this park and for many other wildlife parks, we have put in place economic support for them to help feed the animals. We will continue to provide the support as necessary.

QUESTION:

Is the Government expecting or preparing for any retaliation from China in response to the decision to tear up Victoria’s belt and road deal?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

The Morrison government will always defend and promote Australia’s national interest and that’s why we have acted today. We make no excuses for strongly protecting the national interest. It is the Federal Government that decides the foreign policy settings of our country and determines what’s in our national interest in terms of bilateral partnerships with other countries. Our relationship with China is important. They are the number one trading partner for Australia. We want that relationship to continue to be productive and it will continue to be valued. But at the same time, we will be clear and consistent with respect to our national interests. Whether it’s around human rights, foreign investment, or other national security related issues.

QUESTION:  

*inaudible* be nervous given the impacts they have previously experienced when the relationship with China has deteriorated?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well when it comes to iron ore, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship with China. We obviously earn significant export income and create tens of thousands of jobs from that industry here in Australia. But China, who is the world’s largest steel exporter, also benefits greatly from the quality and the quantity of our iron ore. Iron ore that they cannot in the same quantity access from other countries around the world. So, I’m confident that that relationship, despite the challenges we have today, will continue to promote job creation in our country. With respect to other sectors across the agricultural sector and the like, well we’ve seen China’s actions, targeting Australia in respect to wine or barley or, indeed, lobsters and crayfish and other produce. The Australian agricultural sector has been remarkably resilient and has been able to diversify its customer base. And that’s a good thing. And we encourage that. Obviously the Chinese paid a bit of a premium for some of those products. But, again, it comes back to our national interest. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Foreign Minister Marise Payne, our entire Government, will always be consistent and clear with respect to our national interest and that is what’s motivating our decisions.

QUESTION:

Can you run through the assistance Australia is able to offer with regard to the search for the Indonesian submarine that’s missing?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we’ll help out wherever we can. Indonesia’s a very close and dear friend. I understand there’s been already some contact. I will leave it to the Defence Minister to provide further updates. But Indonesia is a very dear friend. A very important neighbour for Australia and we would obviously seek to help them in any way we can. Thank you.

QUESTION:

Is Senator Smith able to take a question with regard to the WA Liberal Party?

DEAN SMITH:

Sure.

QUESTION:

Just obviously you put your hand up to be involved in the review process underway since the state election. Are you confident that the panel of three can fix what’s broken?

DEAN SMITH:

The review process that the West Australian Liberal Party is now engaged in is the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time to reset the West Australian Liberal Party. That reset should be about making the Party bigger, making the Party inclusive and making sure the West Australian Party is representative of Liberals not just in the Liberal Party but throughout the community.

QUESTION:

Does Faye have your support in the lead up to an election?

DEAN SMITH:

Faye has my support. Thank you.

Midland track move puts Airport on the line

Source: Government of Western Australia

The Forrestfield-Airport Link project has reached yet another major milestone by successfully shifting the Midland Line tracks to their final location and connecting the Airport Line track to the wider rail network.

Back in December 2017, a section of track on the Midland Line was temporarily relocated to create space for the construction of the Bayswater Junction dive structure – the underground, open-air structure which leads into the entrance of the tunnel.

During two 56-hour rail weekend shutdowns in February and March 2021, these tracks were relocated again – this time to their permanent location.

Working within such a tight timeframe, there was a need to quickly and safely construct and tie in the section of track, as well as the associated rail systems and power. It was high fives all around when Midland Line services resumed on time Monday morning.

After almost five years of construction, the Forrestfield-Airport Link project is well and truly on the home stretch. A further shutdown of the Midland Line will take place later this year to connect all rail systems and power to the existing network. This will be followed by testing and trial running, including railcar driver training.

Visit Forrestfield-Airport Link website.

Call for witnesses – Criminal damage – Palmerston

Source: Northern Territory Police

Northern Territory Police are calling for witnesses after the Palmerston War Memorial was damaged overnight.

CCTV captured images just after midnight of an unknown person causing damage to two silhouette statues at the memorial. The offender was wearing dark coloured clothing and accompanied by an unknown accomplice wearing a white coloured t-shirt. 

Acting Senior Sergeant Rob Overall said, “Damaging a war memorial is not acceptable at any time, but to do it on the approach to ANZAC Day is unthinkable.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information is urged to contact Police on 131 444 or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Please quote reference number 9665087.

Woolworths celebrates as Free Fruit for Kids hits 100 million milestone – Woolworths Group

Source: Woolworths Limited

Wednesday 21 April 2021: More than 100 million pieces of fruit have now been given to Australian kids since the launch of Woolworths Free Fruit For Kids program.

Building fresh fruit habits from an early age, the Woolworths initiative was the first national program of its kind when it began in 2015.

With 41% of children aged 4 – 8 not receiving their daily recommended intake of one and a half servings of fruit 1,2, the national program is aimed at helping get more fruit into kids diets.

Offering apples, bananas, and pears and mandarins when in season, Woolworths estimates more than 14,000 tonnes of free fruit have been eaten by kids since the program launched – the equivalent to filling more than six Olympic sized swimming pools.

Woolworths General Manager of Fruit and Vegetables, Paul Turner said: “At Woolworths, we want to help kids get their recommended daily intake of fruit.

“Providing Australian kids with more than 100 million pieces of free fruit is one of our largest community initiatives. It not only makes fresh fruit easily accessible for kids across Australia, but is helping build a healthier future for our country.

“We want to say thank you to our customers, especially parents, for embracing the initiative, but also our store teams and farmers for making sure those Free Fruit for Kids baskets are full of great Australian produce for kids to enjoy.”

100 per cent of the fruit given away is from local suppliers, like Mackay Bananas in Queensland and Montague Apples in Victoria.

Tony Alcock, a 2nd generation Alcock Bananas grower said: “As a family-owned, Aussie business, we’re all about taking positive steps to ensure kids build a love for fruit.

“There’s nothing more exciting than knowing our bananas have brought tasty nutrition to so many kids over the last five years through Woolworths Free Fruit for Kids program.”

To celebrate the milestone, Woolworths is offering 100 primary schools and early learning centres across the country the chance to receive free fruit for each student for the day, helping create fresh fruit habits for Aussie kids as they learn.

Applications to receive free fruit for a day are open. To find out more about Woolworths Free Fruit for Kids schools initiative and to apply, visit woolworths.com.au/fruitforschools.

Woolworths continues to invest in other long standing community programs that support the wellbeing and education of children, including Fresh Food Kids Discovery Tours, its partnership with Life Education and Woolworths Junior Landcare grants. Furthermore, Woolworths supports junior sporting initiatives and organisations via partnerships in cricket, netball and surfing and through the Woolworths Discovery Garden collection. 

Parents and kids are encouraged to pick up a free piece of fruit the next time they visit a store.