Showing posts with label debt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label debt. Show all posts

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Shock, Horror! A Liberal minister finally makes a stab at lessening gouging by payday lending and rent-as-you-buy companies and Liberal MPs have a conniption




According to the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) this bill has merit.


2. We support the financial inclusion objectives of the Exposure Draft of the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2017 (the Bill). The consumer harms that can be associated with payday loans and consumer leases are a longstanding and systemic feature of these sectors and often fall on financially vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. We consider that the Bill will provide an effective suite of protections commensurable to the risk of harm to consumers from these products, balanced against the need to ensure that the industry can remain viable.

3 In particular, we support the level of the cap on costs for consumer leases proposed in the Bill. We expect a cap set at this level will address the excessive costs some lessors charge consumers, while still allowing a viable and sustainable consumer lease sector.

4 We also support the introduction of the Bill’s comprehensive anti-avoidance regime, which will benefit both consumers and compliant businesses. These measures will be essential to address the increased risk of avoidance activity following the introduction of the reforms.

Yet this is the response from Liberal Party backbenchers.........

The Courier Mail, 12 February 2018:

IRATE backbenchers have revolted over Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer’s tough payday lending draft laws and have successfully enlisted Treasurer Scott Morrison to reverse Cabinet’s support of the Bill.

As the Turnbull Government desperately searches for a circuit breaker from Barnaby Joyce’s sex scandal, frustrations have spilt over against Ms O’Dwyer’s original handling of new laws targeting payday lenders and rent-to-buy businesses, with backbenchers complaining to the Prime Minister.

A bloc of about 20 backbenchers, including several in Queensland, are warning Ms O’Dwyer’s reforms will send some businesses broke and are an affront to Liberal values.

In a move that will be pilloried by consumer groups angry over rent-to-buy lenders charging up to 800 per cent interest, a group of MPs, labelled by some in the Government as the “Parliamentary Friends of Payday Lenders” – a title that is angering the bloc – has convinced Mr Morrison to retreat on parts of the draft laws.

It would be an embarrassing move for Cabinet, which ticked off on the reforms last year.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

In the same week Wall Street was finally spooked by the sheer weight of Donald Trump's inadequacies as the 45th US President.....


.....and the Dow Jones Index indicated that financiers and big business might be seriously worried about possibly higher than expected interest ratesrising national debt and the size of the US federal budget deficit Trump created in his first twelve months in office - he also rather unwisely performed in front of the cameras on the subject of treason.

YouTube, Time, 5 February 2018:



CNN, 5 February 2018:

 (CNN)President Donald Trump wasn't -- and, apparently, still isn't -- happy that Democrats in Congress didn't stand to applaud him in his State of the Union address last week.

"They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, 'treasonous.' I mean, Yeah, I guess why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean they certainly didn't seem to love our country that much."

So, here we are. Again.

Let's quickly define "treason," shall we?

"The offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family."

Trump loyalists will dismiss all of this as much ado over nothing. He was joking! He didn't even say that it was treasonous! He was just agreeing with people who said it was treasonous!

Fine. Also, wrong. And missing the point in a major way.

The point? It's this: Not standing during applause lines for the State of the Union isn't treasonous or un-American. Not even close.

If it was, all of the Republicans in that chamber are treasonous and un-American as well because when former President Barack Obama would tout his accomplishments in office -- as Trump was doing last Tuesday night -- lots and lots of Republican legislators would sit on their hands while the Democratic side of the aisle erupted in cheers. And so on and so forth for every president before him (and after).

The Washington Post, 6 February 2018:

This isn’t the first time Trump has used the T-word as president. Just last month, he accused FBI agent Peter Strzok of treason for sending negative text messages about him during the 2016 election to a lawyer at the FBI who he was having an affair with. “By the way, that’s a treasonous act,” the president told the Wall Street Journal. “What he tweeted to his lover is a treasonous act.”

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Preying on the vulnerable the Centrelink way


The Guardian, 17 January 2018:

Centrelink has given companies accused of exploitation and misconduct direct access to welfare recipients’ money through its automated debit system.

The companies were granted access to the Centrepay system, which allows Centrelink to deduct money from welfare payments to pay approved businesses early.

The system is designed to ensure rent and power bills are paid by giving government-approved real estate agents and electricity retailers the first bite of social security payments.

But the federal government has long faced criticism for opening up Centrepay to household appliance rental companies, which rent out white goods, mobile phones, laptops and furniture.

A 2015 report from the corporate regulator found the sector was targeting Centrelink recipients and charging exorbitant prices, often more than five times the retail price of the leased goods – the equivalent of a 248% interest rate.

An independent review of Centrepay in 2013 warned the government that lax oversight was giving unscrupulous operators access to the system, raising the risk of exploitation.

More than four years on, those risks appear to still be materialising.

Guardian Australia has found at least four appliance rental companies were granted approval to use Centrepay, despite previously being punished by the corporate regulator or placed on binding agreements to rectify potential legal breaches.

One of the businesses, Amazing Rentals, continued to hold Centrepay approval for more than two years after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) raised concerns it had failed to comply with responsible lending obligations. Most of the customers of its Darwin store, including many Indigenous Australians, received government benefits as their only source of income.

The company was renting white goods to people who could not read the contracts and did not understand what they were signing up to.

The corporate regulator accepted an enforceable undertaking from the company in June 2015, which forced it to shut down the store for 12 months, refund customers,

“We had examples of consumers who were on disability pensions or Newstart allowance where they were literally running out of money at the end of the month because of the impact of the repayments that were being made for those consumer lease products,” Asic senior executive Michael Saadat told the ABC at the time.

Amazing Rentals was eventually stripped of Centrepay approval in September last year, about the same time it became embroiled in a massive data breach, which exposed 26,000 documents with the personal details of 4,000 people in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Other companies still approved for Centrepay include franchise Rent the Roo, which was fined $27,500 by Asic for breaching responsible lending laws in 2013; and Mr Rental Australia, which was found to have imposed a potentially unlawful early termination fee, and was forced by the regulator to refund about 1,560 consumers more than $300,000 in total.

Centrepay approval is also still active for The Rental Guys, a company found to have failed to meet responsible lending obligations to customers mainly from regional Indigenous communities, and not verifying their ability to make the rental payments. The company also placed vulnerable customers on new contracts that imposed higher fees and removed the right to own goods once the rental period was finished.

Rent-to-buy companies approved for the Centrepay system sign contracts with customers knowing they are living on welfare payments.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

So what does Australia's public debt look like in January 2018?


As of 5 January 2018 Australian Government public debt stood at an est. $515.6 billion at face value. Six months earlier this debt had stood at est. $500.9 billion. So government debt continues to grow.

This early January 2018 public debt breaks down as:

$477,278m
$34,897m
$3,500m
Other Securities
$6m


Treasury Bonds are medium to long-term debt securities that carry an annual rate of interest fixed over the life of the security, payable semi-annually.
All Treasury Bonds are exempt from non-resident interest withholding tax (IWT).


These treasury bonds were first issued between January 2006 and September 2017, with interest repayments ranging from 1.75% to 5.75% per annum due throughout 2018 and, in all but two instances the years beyond up to 2047. It is likely that at least 50% of these bonds are held by foreign investors.

The Turnbull Government appears to be using reduced government spending by way of funding cuts to essential government services and ‘reformed’ welfare payments in order to manage a portion of this debt – the remainder possibly being serviced by further bond issuance.

Given the potential to retain a higher dollar amount of cash transfers for longer periods in government coffers if the Cashless Debit Card is universally introduced for welfare recipients under retirement age, then I rather suspect that future welfare recipients may be disproportionately servicing this debt if Turnbull & Co have their way.

And while considering that growing public debt, the sustained federal government assault on safety-net welfare since 2013 and the attack on penalty rates in 2017, readers miight like to consider this……

The Australian Parliament consists of 226 elected members sitting as MPs or senators.

Between them they are reported to own 524 properties and, in addition to their salaries and any additional remuneration for ministerial position or committee membership, they also receive generous parliamentary entitlements of which they freely avail themselves:



The Australian, 5 January 2018:

Australians have endured their longest period of falling living standards in more than a quarter of a century as growth in costs outstripped earnings for the fifth consecutive quarter, leaving households worse off than they were six years ago.

After allowing for inflation, taxes and interest costs, average household incomes dropped 1.6 per cent in the year to September, capping a sustained fall in ­living standards that has not been seen since the 1990-91 recession.

Economists say more than half the cost increases for households are being driven by electricity, rent, health, new housing and tobacco, while modest wage rises are being partially absorbed by workers being pushed into higher tax brackets……

After adjusting for living costs, interest and taxes, average earnings in the three months to September were 0.7 per cent lower than in the same period of 2011, which marked the peak of the ­resources boom.

Over the previous six years from 2005, households had seen an average improvement in their living standards of 17 per cent.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said the mid-year budget update delivered before Christmas provided only limited scope for tax cuts.

“To be anything more than ‘sandwich and milkshake’ tax cuts and still maintain a trajectory ­towards a budget surplus by 2020-21, they would have to be offset by spending savings elsewhere. That is where the politics kicks in and the government has had difficulty getting things through the Senate,” he said.

Dr Oliver said if the government was successful in getting the 0.5 per cent increase in the Medicare Levy through the Senate, it would offset the benefit of any tax cut. The Medicare Levy increase is scheduled to start on July 1 next year and increase personal taxes by $3.6 billion in its first year and $4.3bn in the second.

Although living standards stopped rising after 2011, the ­decline since the middle of 2016 is new and reflects both the fall in wage growth and an increase in tax payments.

The ABS Wage Price Index shows a 1.9 per cent rise last year, but this is measured before tax and records the average increase for each job. National accounts show that personal income tax collections are rising much faster than pre-tax wages, partly ­because more wage income is being pushed into higher tax brackets. They show a 4 per cent lift in taxes per capita over the year to September, absorbing 60 per cent of the increase in wage income per person, which rose only 1 per cent.

Much of the very strong ­employment growth in the past year has been in lower paying jobs in the services sector, which has reduced average incomes overall.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Can you even imagine personally owing the NSW Government over $204k in unpaid fines? Somebody in the Northmead area can.


As of 30 June 2017 approximately 515,437 debtors owed the NSW State Debt Recovery Office a whopping $839,762,236 as a result of 2,524,845 fines being generated.

The nature of these fines range from penalty notices (e.g. parking fines) through to court fines, State Electoral Office fines, Sheriff Office Jury Branch fines and Bail Forfeiture Orders.

These fines are all overdue and an unknown number of these debtors are serial defaulters.

Here are the top five serial offenders:

The person owing the largest dollar amount hails from the Northmead area, the second largest has an address in the vicinity of Waterloo-Zetland, the third is somewhere in Artarmon and, the fourth & fifth seem to call the Eastern Suburbs home.

In the 2016-17 financial year the State Debt Recovery Office wrote off est. $68.23 million in  debt still outstanding.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Adani Group still cannot find financial backers for Galilee Basin mega coal mine


Indian multinational, the family-owned Adani Group, appears to have financed its Queensland mining venture with debt.

The book value of Adani Enterprises' Carmichael mine project was just under US$2.3bn by mid-2017. While latest report shows its debt has risen by almost US$400m to US$3.83bn.

This debt is further complicated by fraud allegations and investigations by the Indian Government.

The Guardian, 7 December 2017:

Adani’s operations in Australia appear to be hanging on by a thread, as activists prove effective at undermining the company’s chances of getting the finance it needs.

China seems to have ruled out funding for the mine, which means it’s not just Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine that is under threat, but also its existing Abbot Point coal terminal, which sits near Bowen, behind the Great Barrier Reef.

The campaign against the mine has been long. Environmentalists first tried to use Australia’s environmental laws to block it from going ahead, and then failing that, focused on pressuring financial institutions, first here, and then around the world.

The news that Beijing has left Adani out to dry comes as on-the-ground protests against construction of the mine pick up. Two Greens MPs, Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker, have been arrested in Queensland for disrupting the company’s activities.

Is China’s move the end of the road for Adani’s mega coalmine in Australia, and will the Adani Group be left with billions of dollars in stranded assets?.........

While threats to reputational damage were not effective against Adani Group, since it is family-owned, the same was not true of Australian banks, which were targeted heavily by activists.
And one by one, each of the big four Australian banks ruled out financing the mine.

The first of the big four banks declared it would not lend to the project two years ago. NAB distanced itself from the mine in September 2015 and ANZ followed suit in December.
Then in April this year Westpac became the third of the big banks to rule out funding the project, drawing criticism from resources minister, Matthew Canavan, who said the bank had a conflict of interest because of its interest in other coal-producing regions, and called for a boycott of the bank.

Undeterred, and in the face of a large campaign by environmental groups, the Commonwealth bank followed suit in August this year.

By then Adani had seen the writing on the wall, and had shifted to seek finance from overseas institutions. It entered negotiations with the state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which was thought to raise the potential of subsidised Chinese government loans.

The Australian government, which was seeking to give Adani its own subsidised loan, had supported the company’s efforts in China, according to a freedom of information request by the Australia Institute that reveals “several hundred pages” relating to formal representations to foreign financiers by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade…….

Monday, 29 May 2017

IN MATES WE TRUST: that all too familiar stench begins to drift across Parliament Drive once more


Prime Minister John Howard with Bob Day then a Liberal donor and party figure
The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 September 2008

On 17 May 2017The Guardian reported on the matter of the eligibility of Family First’s Bob Day1 to sit in the Australian Senate:
A majority of the court found that Day was ineligible from 26 February 2016. He was paid close to $130,000 between then and his November resignation.

Ryan said Day had been warned he was required to repay the salary and superannuation he earned as a senator, and similar letters had been sent to former One Nation senator Rod Culleton.

Barely eight days pass and then……
ABC News, 25 May 2017:

The Federal Government has agreed to waive debts owed by former senator Bob Day, after receiving advice that he may not be able to repay the money.

Special Minister of State senator Scott Ryan told a Senate estimates committee he decided to waive the debts in line with decisions made in similar cases in the past.

In April, the High Court ruled Mr Day was not validly elected to the Senate last year, due to a complex arrangement involving a building previously owned by Mr Day being leased by the Commonwealth.

It was recently revealed the Senate and Department of Finance were pursuing Mr Day and fellow disqualified senator Rod Culleton, seeking the repayment of their salaries and other allowances.

Both men received letters informing them of the situation, potentially owing hundreds of thousands of dollars between them.

Senator Ryan told the estimates hearing Mr Day took up an option to formally request the debt be waived.

The Minister said he was advised pursuing the debts may not be fair.

"It may be seen to be inequitable for the Commonwealth to recover the debt, given Mr Day performed his duties as a senator in good faith," he said.

"The [advisory] committee also noted Mr Day's personal financial circumstances."

Remembering of course that the Liberal Party and its financial backers have a history of propping up Mr. Day…….

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 2017:

A wealthy fundraising body linked to the Liberal Party has quietly begun bankrolling the organisations behind two of the Coalition's biggest crossbench supporters in the finely balanced Senate.

The Cormack Foundation has donated more than $40 million to the Liberal Party over the last 18 years – including more than $3 million in 2015-16 – making it one of the party's biggest benefactors.

The foundation is an investment company and "associated entity" of the Liberals that donates dividends from its share portfolio. It has stakes in a number of blue-chip companies – including the big four banks, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Telstra and Wesfarmers – raising about $3.9 million last year.

But for the first time in its 30-year history, the foundation last year donated to parties other than the Liberals – giving $25,000 each to the conservative Family First and the libertarian Liberal Democrats, according to the Australian Election Commission annual returns released this week.

The foundation has eight listed shareholders, who are also the company's directors. They include Rupert Murdoch's brother-in-law John Calvert-Jones, former Reserve Bank board member and Business Council of Australia president Hugh Morgan and former ANZ chairman Charles Goode.

The donations came in a year that the Abbott and then Turnbull governments were highly reliant in the Senate on the votes of Family First's Bob Day and the Liberal Democrats' David Leyonhjelm….

It's believed to be the first occasion an "associated entity" has linked itself to more than one political party at a time.

ABC News, 2 November 2017:

The Abbott government ignored the advice of its own bureaucrats when it approved the lease agreement with former Family First senator Bob Day regarding his Adelaide electorate office in 2014.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information reveal the Finance Department advised the Government not to allow Mr Day to relocate his electorate office from the Adelaide CBD to a building he owned in Kent Town, warning it had "concerns about how such a transaction might be perceived"……

Despite this advice, the then special minister of state, Michael Ronaldson, wrote to Mr Day in March 2014 telling him he was willing to consider the arrangement as long as the Kent Town property met Commonwealth standards and that no rent would be charged to the Commonwealth until the lease ended on the CBD office space.

Mr Day sold the building to Fullerton Investments and last December, the company entered into a lease agreement with the Commonwealth under which no rent would be paid……

Mr Day's company loaned Fullarton Investments money to make the purchase — and are ultimately liable for a National Australia Bank mortgage on the building.

Between 2004 and 2006 Bob Day’s company Homestead Homes donated $9,937 to the Liberal Party in South Australia. It is understood that the donation tally may be higher as Day owned more than one company and at least one trust which may have contributed to party coffers.

NOTES



Thursday, 4 May 2017

How soon will Adani go broke in the Galilee Basin?


Reading the information set out below leads me to wonder how the Federal Government and Queensland Government will cope, both politically and economically, if the Adani Group's Carmichael Mine and Rail Project leads to a massive derelict mine site with its twenty-six Australian subsidiaries under administration or in receivership.


2013


The Adani Group is highly geared:
 Against an external market capitalisation of US$5.17bn, The Adani Group has an estimated US$12bn of net debt, a significant portion of which is US$-denominated with limited hedging.
Adani Power is of particular concern, being loss-making with net debt over 300% of its current market capitalisation.

2015


The project would require a massive and improbable infusion of debt, but a growing number of global banks key to most major coal-mining investments have eschewed it, mostly because of the risk it would pose to the Great Barrier Reef. (The 11 banks that have taken a public pass on the project include Deutsche Bank; HSBC; Royal Bank of Scotland; Barclays; Morgan Stanley; Citigroup; Goldman Sachs; JP Morgan Chase and most recently Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole. In May 2015 Bank of America announced it would move to exit coal lending entirely.


With the Carmichael coal proposal commercially unviable at current or forecast thermal coal prices, the project is increasingly unbankable. Fifteen of the world's largest financial houses have either ceased working on this proposal or ruled out involvement, including both CBA and Standard Chartered, where advisory mandates have expired.

Continued momentum in technological developments underpins the scaled up commercial rollout of renewable energy and energy efficiency globally. As such, the strategic 'moment' for large-scale export-focused greenfields coal mines has passed.

2017


Shareholders and financiers of Adani Enterprises face substantial risks due to the company's continuing development of the controversy-plagued Carmichael coal project in the face of major adverse structural shifts in market conditions.

The proposed mine, in Australia's remote Galilee Basin, remains a high-cost, high-risk project that is reliant on substantial public subsidies for it to be remotely financially viable. Even with concessional loans, IEEFA analysis shows the project is likely to be cash flow negative for the majority of its operating life.

Shifts in Indian energy policy and pricing have materially increased the risk of Carmichael becoming a stranded asset. Legal challenges and community opposition to the project persist and are likely to escalate if the project moves to construction.

With a market capitalisation of just US$1.9bn and net debt of US$2.5bn, Adani Enterprises Ltd will struggle to contribute equity for this A$5bn project. The project risks over-extending the balance sheet of Adani Enterprises to an extreme degree, creating a high level of financial risk to both shareholders and potential financiers……

In the years since Adani purchased the lease for the Carmichael mine, Indian government energy policy has shifted radically. Energy Minister Piyush Goyal has stated repeatedly that it is government policy to cease thermal coal imports—a policy that brings into question the very point of the proposed mine…..

* The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment. The Institute's mission is to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.
The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis receives its funding from philanthropic organizations.  We gratefully acknowledge our funders, including the Rockefeller Family Fund,  Energy FoundationMertz-Gilmore FoundationMoxie FoundationWilliam and Flora Hewlett FoundationRockefeller Brothers FundGrowald Family FundFlora Family FundWallace Global Fund,  and V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Hindu, 5 May 2016:

"PSU banks are owed about Rs 5 lakh crore by corporate houses and of this roughly Rs 1.4 lakh crore are owed by just five companies, which include Lanco, GVK, Suzlon Energy, Hindustan Construction Company and a certain company called the Adani Group and Adani Power," he said.

The amount owed by this group "called the Adani Group" both in terms of its long term and short term debt on Thursday is around Rs 72,000 crore, he added quoting reports.
"Yesterday it was mentioned that the entire amount that the farmers need to pay as crop loans is Rs 72,000 crore. The Adani Group itself owes to the banks Rs 72,000 crore," he said.

The Hindu, 8 May 2016:

The billionaire Gautam Adani's Adani group, with Rs 96,031 crore debt [est. AUD $1.9 billion], is under pressure to sell its stake in the Abbott Point coal mines, port and rail project. The Adani Group's debt stands at Rs. 72,000 crore [est. AUD $1.4 billion]. Last year, Standard Chartered bank had recalled loans amounting to $2.5 billion as part of its global policy of reducing exposure in emerging markets. Global lenders have backed out from funding the $10-billion coal mine development project. State Bank of India has also declined to offer a loan despite signing an MoU to fund the group with $1 billion. An Adani spokesperson declined to offer any comments on the issue.


S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. (APSEZ) to negative from stable. 

ABC News, 22 December 2016:

The business behind the planned Carmichael coal mine in North Queensland is facing multiple financial crime and corruption probes, with Indian authorities investigating Adani companies for siphoning money offshore and artificially inflating power prices

Companies under scrutiny for the alleged corrupt conduct include Adani Enterprises Limited — the ultimate parent company of the massive mine planned for the Galilee Basin.

Two separate investigations into allegations of trade-based money laundering by Adani companies are underway — one into the fraudulent invoicing of coal imports and the other into a scam involving false invoicing for capital equipment imports.

"They are very serious allegations and they are being conducted by the premier Indian government agency investigating financial crime," Australia's foremost expert on money laundering, Professor David Chaikin of the University of Sydney, told the ABC.

"The allegations involve substantial sums of money with major losses to the Indian taxpayer."

Adani denies wrongdoing.

Rediff, 10 January 2017:

For the past year, Adani Power has been undergoing an overhaul for its debt, including measures such as equity infusion and refinancing. These have helped the company survive the rough times since proceeds from the compensatory rates are yet to come by. 

The firm expects its recent equity infusion, debt refinancing and the compensatory rate to lead to a turnaround in its financial position….

On December 6, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission granted a compensatory rate for Adani Power's Mundra unit on the grounds of changes in Indonesian coal policy and shortage of domestic coal. 

In the address to analysts, after the September quarter results, the management said: "Once we have clarity in the form of CERC orders, we would obviously have the reason to work with the rating agencies and then we will make our plans."

The CERC order, however, has not led to any change of credit ratings so far for the company as its implementation hinges on the required Supreme Court approval for the same. 

CatchNews, 14 February 2017:

Earlier this year, the State Bank of India reportedly approved a loan of around $1 billion (Rs 6,600 crore ) for the company's coal mine in Australia. However, after much hue and cry in the media due to the highly stressed balance sheet of the public sector bank, the approval was withdrawn.

Hindustan Times, 11 April 2017:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside an order by the Appellate Tribunal For Electricity allowing compensatory tariff to Tata Power Ltd and Adani Power Ltd, sending down shares of both companies.

Shares of Tata Power reversed early gains to fall as much as 6.78%, while Adani Power slumped up to 20% to its lowest since February 21.

The tribunal, in April last year, had said the two companies needed to be compensated as the change in Indonesian laws on coal export prices were outside the control of these companies.

Financial Review, 11 April 2017:

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has told Malcolm Turnbull his company will seek a taxpayer-funded concessional loan of up to $1 billion to support his proposed $21.7 billion coal mine in Queensland......
Following a meeting with Mr Adani and his executives in New Delhi on Monday night, Mr Turnbull cautioned the loan – to help build a $2 billion railway line to link the mine to the coast – would have to be approved on its commercial merits by the independent board which administers the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.

The Northern Star, 16 April 2017:

Shares for Adani Power Limited, the Adani Group subsidiary energy provider in India, were trading at 44.25 rupees (AU$0.9) on Monday, but dropped to 32.90 rupees by the end of trading on Friday.
Adani Enterprises, the subsidiary connected with the Carmichael Coal project, traded on Monday for 120.10 rupees ($AU2.46) a share, but has also dropped, reaching 116.85 by the end of Friday.


….the International Energy Association’s (IEA) modelling indicates that under a two degree scenario thermal coal demand will peak in the current decade and decline thereafter…..

However, for new thermal coal proposals we will: Limit lending to any new thermal coal mines or projects (including those of existing customers) to only existing coal producing basins and where the calorific value for that mine ranks in at least the top 15% globally. We define the top 15% as having a specific energy content of at least 6,300 kCal/kg Gross As Received. This value is referred to as the Newcastle high energy coal benchmark.

Friday, 3 March 2017

#NotMyDebt: it has spite writ large all over it


Despite any current or future ministerial or departmental denials, ‘explanations’ or excuses, I find it hard to believe that this 22 February 2017 end of business day release of a Centrelink client’s personal, sensitive, protected information to a journalist was accidental.

Particularly as this act was clearly repeated.

It has spite writ large all over it.

The Guardian, 2 March 2017:

The office of human services minister, Alan Tudge, mistakenly sent a journalist internal departmental briefings about a welfare recipient’s personal circumstances, which included additional detail on her relationship and tax history.

Senior departmental figures were grilled at Senate estimates on Thursday about the release of welfare recipient Andie Fox’s personal information last month.

Fox had written an opinion piece critical of Centrelink and its handling of her debt, which ran in Fairfax Media in February. The government released her personal details to Fairfax journalist Paul Malone, who subsequently published a piece attacking Fox and questioning the veracity of her claims.

Two responses were given to the journalist, one from the department of human services and the other from Tudge.

The department said its response – three dot points containing only minimal detail on Fox’s personal history – was cleared by lawyers and was lawful. The minister’s office then added two quotes from Tudge and sent its own response to Malone.

Guardian Australia can now reveal that the minister’s office also accidentally sent the journalist two internal briefing documents, marked “for official use only”, which had been prepared by the department.

Those documents contained additional information on Fox and her personal circumstances, which went beyond the dot points prepared by the department. They included further detail of her relationship history, including when she separated from her partner.

Those documents were then sent to Malone. The documents were also mistakenly sent to Guardian Australia when it raised questions about the disclosure of Fox’s personal information.

No mention of those documents was made in Senate estimates on Thursday, despite repeated questioning of what the minister had disclosed to Malone. Tudge’s office has now conceded the documents were sent to Malone in error. But the office says it was of no consequence, because all of their contents had been legally cleared by the department.

A welfare recipient’s personal details are considered protected information under social security law, and any unlawful disclosure is considered a criminal offence. Earlier, the department told estimates that social security law only allowed it to disclose the minimal amount of information needed to correct the public record. [my highlighting]

On 2 March 2017 Labor MP for Barton and Shadow Minister for Human Services, Linda Burney, wrote to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner requesting an investigation into the personal/sensitive information release by the minister and/or his staff:


BACKGROUND



http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com.au/search?q=centrelink
Protection of personal information



Our obligations under the Privacy Act 
This policy sets out how we comply with our obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles which are set out in a Schedule to that Act. 

The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) regulate how the department, as an APP entity, must collect, use, disclose and store personal information. The APP

What personal information and sensitive information is

The terms 'personal information' and ‘sensitive information’ come from section 6 of the Privacy Act.

References to personal information throughout the Privacy Policy include sensitive information unless otherwise indicated.

‘Personal information’ means: 
Information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable:
a) whether the information or opinion is true or not; and 
b) whether the information or opinion is recorded in a material form or not.

‘Sensitive information’ means: 
a) information or an opinion about an individual’s:
i. racial or ethnic origin
ii. political opinions
iii. membership of a political association
iv. religious beliefs or affiliations v. philosophical beliefs
vi. membership of a professional or trade association
vii. membership of a trade union
viii. sexual orientation or practices
ix. criminal record. 
b) health information about an individual
c) genetic information about an individual that is not otherwise health information

d) biometric information that is to be used for the purpose of automated biometric verification or biometric identification e) biometric templates


Sky News, 2 March 2017:

It was also confirmed Centrelink staff trawl social media for complaints about the welfare agency and may refer serious gripes to the responsible minister.

Senior bureaucrats responsible for Centrelink say their workers sift through print, broadcast and social media for individual complaints.

Deciding on whether to report grievances to the human services minister depended on the circumstances of each case.