List of recommendations

Recommendation 1

2.123
The Committee recommends the Federal Government partner with state and territory governments and relevant research bodies to collate data on the wealth extracted from Australia’s regions and the investments made in those regions by the mining and resources industries and governments, and make this data available in a simple and accessible format.

Recommendation 2

2.124
The Committee recommends the Federal Government advocate through the Council of Australian Governments for states and territories with significant mining and resources sectors to adopt ‘Royalties for Regions’-type programs, which guarantee a share of royalties from resource extraction are reinvested in regional areas, especially those directly impacted by mining.
A certain proportion of the royalties allocated through the program should be set aside to create an Infrastructure Impacts Fund, which would be made available to councils in mining-affected regions to fund initiatives addressing impacts on infrastructure caused by the activities of the resources sector. This funding should not be used for general or routine maintenance.

Recommendation 3

3.169
The Committee recommends the Federal Government work with state, territory and local governments, and land councils, who make licensing agreements with companies to ensure these agreements:
include targets for minimum levels of true local procurement, based on the specific circumstances of the region and the project, including regional business capability;
clearly define ‘local’, using the Queensland Government’s Local Zones model, or a similar model;
require companies to make procurement opportunities readily available and accessible to regional small and medium enterprises and locally-based businesses of any size, and to advertise their contracts and tenders for at least 30 days; and
require companies to ensure their higher-tier contractors also commit to local procurement.

Recommendation 4

3.170
The Committee recommends the Federal Government work with local governments and land councils to produce high-quality, accessible guidance materials for use by local councils and land councils in mining regions. These materials would help councillors to:
negotiate effectively with mining and resources companies when setting up or reviewing agreements;
maximise rates receipts and other compensation from mining and resources companies active in their local government area;
secure commitments to minimum levels of local workforce participation, training and apprenticeships;
negotiate guarantees around local procurement policies and processes; and
develop a clear action plan and guarantee of adequate funding for rehabilitation, clean-up and community sustainability projects as mining retracts.

Recommendation 5

3.171
The Committee recommends the Federal Government review the mechanisms in place to support regional small and medium enterprises and locally-based businesses of any size to engage with the mining sector.
The review should identify any additional supports that need to be made available to ensure regional businesses have the skills and capacity to:
find out about opportunities in the mining and resources sectors;
negotiate effectively with mining and resources companies;
secure and maintain the necessary accreditations; and
complete tender processes effectively and efficiently.

Recommendation 6

4.202
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government closely consider the outcome of the independent review into the Business Council of Australia’s voluntary Australian Supplier Payment Code (the Code) when it is finalised. If the review does not result in a significant strengthening of, and compliance by industry with, the Code, the Australian Government should move to legislate maximum payment terms. A strengthened Code would need to include:
coverage for medium sized businesses;
reporting and enforcement mechanisms; and
more signatories, especially from the mining and resources sectors.

Recommendation 7

4.203
If the Australian Supplier Payment Code is not significantly strengthened by July 2019, the Committee recommends the Australian Government implement recommendation 9 from the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s Payment Times and Practices Inquiry - Final Report (2017):
Recommendation 9: Australian Government to introduce legislation which sets a maximum payment time for business to business transactions. Certain industries may need terms greater than the maximum which can be agreed providing they are not grossly unfair to one party. Where a longer term is called into dispute it will be considered an unfair contract term.

Recommendation 8

4.204
The Committee recommends that, in the absence of legislated payment terms, the Federal Government work with state, territory and local governments, and land councils, who make licensing agreements with mining and resources companies to ensure any new exploration licences are only granted to companies that agree to sign up to the Australian Supplier Payment Code.

Recommendation 9

4.205
The Committee recommends that the Australian Government prioritise reviewing the Australian Consumer Law with a view to:
Amending the law so that Unfair Contract Terms in business-to-business contracts are prohibited under the law;
Including potential penalties for imposing Unfair Contract Terms;
Clarifying or widening the definition of a ‘standard form contract’, as required to meet the intent of the legislation; and
Amending the thresholds to ensure a larger proportion of small and medium sized businesses can be protected by the law.

Recommendation 10

5.141
The Committee recommends the Federal Government work through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council to develop a plan to increase the availability and accessibility of mining-related trades training, and mining-related tertiary courses, in mining regions. Such training should be:
Developed in consultation with mining and other local industries to ensure the right skills are being taught;
Funded and promoted jointly by government and industry;
Affordable and accessible to local young people in mining regions;
Available through online learning wherever appropriate; and
Connected to industry, with specific job opportunities attached to successful completion of training.

Recommendation 11

5.142
The Committee recommends the Federal Government work with state, territory and local governments and land councils who make licensing agreements with companies to ensure these agreements include a requirement for companies to invest in skills training, provide minimum numbers of apprenticeships and traineeships, including Indigenous opportunities, and report on these investments. Levels of investment required should be based on the specific circumstances of the region and the project.

Recommendation 12

5.143
The Committee recommends the Federal Government partner with the mining sector to promote careers in mining, and mining equipment, technology and services (METS). Initiatives should:
Be aimed at recruiting workers for the industry from the towns and regions closest to the mines;
Incorporate promotion aimed at recruiting tradespeople and apprentices, as well as engineers and other tertiary-qualified professionals;
Work to challenge the perception that the mining industry is in decline, or that a career in mining is unstable;
Promote the Western Australian School of Mines and other mining specialist tertiary education centres; and
Promote the industry as being at the cutting-edge of technology and innovation.

Recommendation 13

5.144
The Committee recommends the Federal Government partner with relevant state, territory and local governments and land councils to develop localised plans to increase capacity and skills in mine site rehabilitation and post-mining clean-up within mining regions.

Recommendation 14

5.145
The Committee recommends the Federal Government provide support to assist local governments and land councils to advocate for downstream resources processing industries to be developed in regional locations.

Recommendation 15

5.146
The Committee recommends the Federal Government continue to fund initiatives promoting innovation and commercialisation in the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector. Specifically, the Australian government should direct more funding towards ‘clustering’ initiatives, especially those located in mining regions and involving local businesses and organisations.

Recommendation 16

5.147
The Committee recommends the Federal Government partner with state, territory and local governments to provide incentives to mining and resources companies to develop Remote Operating Centres in regional towns close to mining operations, rather than in metropolitan areas.

Recommendation 17

5.148
The Committee recommends the Federal Government work with relevant state, territory and local governments, land councils, resource companies and community groups to establish well-funded, region-specific resilience and sustainability plans to help mining-dominated regions diversify and thrive in the long-term.

Recommendation 18

6.143
The Committee recommends the Federal Government review the provisions of the Fringe Benefits Tax that relate to businesses providing housing for their workers. The aim of the review should be to remove the existing incentives for companies to use fly-in/fly-out workforces as opposed to providing housing for their workers to live in regional communities close to mines.

Recommendation 19

6.144
The Committee recommends the Federal Government conduct a review into the use of casualised workforces and labour hire companies in the mining and other sectors with a view to amending the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in order to prohibit the move towards replacing directly-employed, full time workers with ‘permanent casual’ employees, and other similar casualised employee types.
Changes to the Act should also include provisions that guarantee that employees have a legal right to convert from casual to permanent employment after a set period of time.

Recommendation 20

6.145
The Committee recommends the Federal Government consult with state and territory governments on existing legislation and frameworks that govern the issuing of licences for gas extraction. Frameworks should be amended to ensure:
Transparency: affected landholders should be informed of the gross production of wells on their land;
A fair return: affected landholders should be entitled to a share of the revenue produced by the well/s, of no less than 2 per cent; and
Dispute resolution: affected landholders should have access to an accessible arbitration process to settle disputes with companies.
Similar measures should be considered for landholders whose land is affected by other extractive industries.

Recommendation 21

6.146
The Committee recommends the Federal Government consult with state and territory governments on existing legislation and frameworks that govern the issuing of licences for resource extraction, with a view to developing a national framework to take to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for endorsement.
The framework should set minimum standards for mining and resources companies in relation to securing and maintaining a social licence to operate in regional areas, including the requirement to develop social impact assessments for their projects.

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