Big companies entrusted with own tax auditing

Large mining companies may avoid public scrutiny over their taxes if the Abbott government complies with calls for amendments to tax law.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is working towards a plan which will see 56 companies with a turnover of $100 million or more allowed to perform their own tax auditing, SMH reported.

The proposal has been met with widespread anger and criticism from government officials, unions and the public, however the ATO said feedback from taxpayers and industry was positive.

The system is called External Compliance Assurance Process (ECAP), which was proposed as a means to reduce costs after budget cuts by the Abbott government.

Under ECAP, large accounting firms will be able to perform audits on large companies, in a move that ATO staff said would be like “giving the keys to the vault to the thieves”.

The results of ECAP audits would not be publically accessible.

3000 ATO staff were sacked as a result of cuts by the Abbott government, and a further 1700 are expected to go by 2018.

Following the release of the Tax Justice Network report, an inquiry into tax avoidance and tax minimisation strategies has heard from a number of Australia’s top companies who are defending the amount of tax they pay.

The report suggested that of the ASX200 around 29 per cent had an effective e tax rate of 10 per cent or less, and 14 per cent of the companies had an effective tax rate of zero.

Glencore has said the Tax Justice Network report was not “reliable” or credible” and that they paid their fair share in taxes and royalties.

Last year Glencore were accused by the Sydney Morning Herald of failing to pay taxes for three years, in an article which was corrected to state that Glencore paid more than $400 million in the same period.

Rio Tinto said it has signed a compliance agreement with the Australian Tax Office which ascertains how much tax it has to pay, ahead of time.

Rio has requested an extension to the agreement for two years.

Woodside claimed it had an effective tax rate of 29.77 per cent, and also has a compliance agreement.

A report on the ECAP program will be released in March to determine if it will become permanent. 

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Freight facility flagged for Melbourne Airport

Set to be the largest of its kind in Australia, work has started on the 71,000 square metre facility on 20 hectares next to Melbourne Airport.

Toll Group Managing Director Brian Kruger said the investment will help increase the company's online parcel delivery service, Toll Consumer Delivery.

“The custom-designed facility, with its highly specialised sortation system will triple our current parcel sorting capacity in Melbourne to an unprecedented 35,000 parcels per hour,”  Kruger said.

“Given the growth we’re seeing in online retail, it is important we continue to improve our already-extensive national network to make it second to none.”

Kruger said the facility will  help to improvesafety, fleet productivity, parcel sorting speed and accuracy, and energy and cost efficiencies.

“It is Toll’s willingness and ability to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and technology that makes it the industry leader in the express parcel delivery market," he said.

The new facility will employ over 500 people and is expected to be operational by the end of 2015. 

Toll wins $90 million LNG project contract

Toll has won a $90 million transport and logistics contract to service the INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG project.

As part of the ten-year contract Toll will design and operate the project’s offshore logistics base in the Northern Territory as well as provide ongoing logistical support for the project in the Browse Basin, located off the northern coast of Western Australia.

The offshore base will support major offshore facilities in the Ichtys Field, which is located 820 kilometres southwest of Darwin.

It will include supplying materials to the project’s floating production, storage and offloading vessel and central processing facility.

Toll will also own the yet-to-be-built INPEX-dedicated facility to be located in Darwin’s East Arm Business Park Precinct.

Toll’s CEO of global resources David Jackson said the company was well-placed to services Australia’s growing oil and gas sector.

“This facility, along with the associated drilling support facility, developed for INPEX in Broome by the Toll Mermaid joint venture, demonstrates Toll’s commitment to invest in world-class facilities for our customers’ world-class projects,” Jackson said.

Construction is expected to be completed in early 2015.

Toll wins $250 million Shell contract

Toll has won a contract that will see it provide a range of transportation services for oil and gas giant, Shell.

The five year-deal, worth $250 million, involved the delivery of fuel to service stations across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

It means Toll will deliver both fuel and lubricants interstate.

Toll Liquids general manager Time Kehoe said the new contract builds on the strong relationship between the two companies.

“We are really pleased to be expanding our business with Shell,” Kehoe said.

“This contract supports our fuel distribution strategy perfectly and further confirms Toll’s commitment to sustainable investment in the sector.”

It is expected contracts will be finalised in the coming weeks.

BCS Group wins Toll parcel facility contract

Technology company BCS Group has won the contract to build a specialised sortation system for Toll’s new express parcel sorting facility.

Toll Group is currently building the 53,000 square metre facility in the new Bungarribee Industrial Estate in Sydney’s west.

The project will implement a combination of BCS Groups’ hardware solutions and smart software products Freightflow and SYM3 to provide transparency of the sites operations, as well as tracking and accurate loading information.

The project will enable Toll’s parcels to be sorted and processed at approximately four times the rate as the current system allows on a system that maintains ultimate parcel integrity.

BCS CEO Brad Jackson said the company developed specific modular freight management software with customisable sortation and handling for freight, parcel and distribution hubs.

“Freightflow can be deployed on both low and very high volume operations because of its scalable modular architecture, virtualisation technology and software performance,” Jackson said.

“The combination of the Freighflow and Sym3 which can be linked to multiple sites contributes dramatically to operational visibility and understanding, which is the key to optimising operations at not only a hub level but at a national level,” he said.

BCS has previously delivered one of the largest freight handling systems seen in Australasia in 2009. That project was in Auckland and is capable of sorting just under 20,000 parcels per hour.

Jackson said the Toll contract was a milestone for the company.

“Traditionally, the BCS Group core business was in automated airport solutions and our many logistics projects in recent years has gradually been balancing the ledger.

“We made a business decision last year to scale our operations preparing for these large logistics projects and our innovative industrial intelligence solutions have definitely allowed us to offer a unique value added solution which has helped us get across the line.” 

Toll wins $380 million Coca-Cola contract

Toll has won a contract worth $380 million over five years which will see it provide Coca-Cola Amatil with a range of transportation services.

The initial five-year contract centres around distribution, bulk distribution and interstate road, rail and sea transport, and will come close to doubling Toll’s existing revenue gained from this work.

Toll’s contract logistics divisional general manager Bruce Wilson said the contract enhances the existing relationship Toll and CCA have developed across the Asia Pacific region.

“To be awarded such an extensive portfolio of contracts from an industry leader such as Coca-Cola Amatil recognises the innovative solutions of Toll’s Contract Logistics and Intermodal businesses,” Wilson said.

“As a long-term supplier of transport services to the beverage industry throughout the Asia Pacific region, we look forward to working with Coca-Cola Amatil to improve their supply chain.”

CCA welcomed Toll’s ongoing commitment to safety and its investment in control room technology to provide greater visibility of the distribution process as well as help Toll optimise its fleet planning, on-time despatch and delivery capabilities.

Toll moving into Gracemere Industrial Area

Toll NQX is moving its operations to the Gracemere Industrial Area, Rockhampton, with a purpose-built facility set to be up and running by mid-2014.

The move comes after nearly a year’s worth of negotiations with Rockhampton Regional Council, The Bulletin reported.

General manager Greg Smith said the facility will provide a growth opportunity for the company.

"The new facility allows room for future growth and more flexibility for our customers," Smith said.

"This is about getting current operations right and planning for continual growth.

"Gracemere offered a blank canvas.

"We have a willingness and ability to grow and Gracemere allows us to do that."

Toll employs 70 workers in Rockhampton, with all set to move to the new site.

Smith said employment would grow off the back of the new venture.

"The sky's the limit," he said.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow welcome the announcement.

"We are delighted at the opportunity this move provides for Toll NQX to grow even stronger," she said.

Gracemere Industrial Park is 10 kilometres south-west of the current Port Curtis site, where Toll has operated since 1990.

Image: thebulletin.com.au

Trains transported from QLD to SA by road

Five $6 million, 129 tonne, 22 metre trains have been transported from Maryborough, Queensland, to Whyalla in South Australia on five separate 2,200 kilometre-long road journeys spanning three states.

Leading the charge was road transport provider Toll NQX who said the trains had to be moved by truck as Queensland hosted a different rail gauge to the rest of Australia.

Toll NQX south Queensland development manager John Gunning said transportation of the trains was a special feat for his company.

“Transporting heavy, oversize loads requires specialised equipment and often extensive planning with detailed strategies,” Gunning said.

“In each case the bogies were removed to bring the overall travelling height down to less than five metres so we don’t interfere with overhead lines, and the wheels transported on two separate trailers.

“We built special steel frames so the trailer could receive the trains without the bogies on. That also gave us something to secure the locomotives to.”

The last train reached Whyalla within a week, where two 200 tonne cranes lifted the bogies from the trucks and onto the tracks, before the locomotive could be lowered onto the bogies.

Gunning said the loads travelled during daylight hours only in each state and required a police escort in South Australia.

Toll’s green rise with new Isuzu CNG fleet deal

Australian transport and logistics provider, Toll Group, has claimed to successfully enhance its reputation as an industry leader in environmental sustainability following its latest fleet acquisition of Isuzu CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)-powered medium duty trucks.

In a statement released on Wednesday (28 March), the company said Toll IPEC’s recent order of 42 Isuzu FSR 700 CNG models adds to the company’s earlier CNG purchases, bringing the total number of Isuzu CNG trucks in Toll’s fleet to more than 70.

This latest acquisition is reportedly the largest single CNG fleet purchase since the launch of Isuzu’s second generation CNG models in 2009.

CNG-powered vehicles show reductions of around 50% of nitrogen dioxide (NOx), 98% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and emit virtually zero PM (particulate matter) when compared to similarly sized conventional diesel trucks.

Toll IPEC general manager, Rodney Johnston said the CNG additions to the current fleet would assist in helping the company reach its environmental goals, while helping provide operational efficiencies.

“One of Toll Group’s key objectives is to look at ways to manage the environmental impacts within our facilities and operations, and act to reduce our rates of emissions, energy and waste,” Johnston said in the statement.

Toll has been conducting extensive CNG trials since 2009, which have led to the most recent purchases.

The company said that the price of CNG is normally between 30 and 50 %less than the equivalent price of diesel and has the benefit of not being tied to international parity pricing. Additional benefits can be obtained by securing a fixed long term CNG price contract with the supplier which provides better balance sheet control and overall lower running costs, the company said.

While CNG public refuelling infrastructure is still in its infancy in Australia, more sites are steadily opening; most recently, the opening of a facility in Laverton, Victoria, which is capable of refuelling large CNG fleets.

Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) national fleet sales manager, Dean Stuhldreier said the company and Toll have shared a close working relationship in recent years, and was pleased to assist the logistics company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

“Toll Group is a company that recognised the potential of CNG as a transport fuel earlier than most,” Stuhldreier said.

“It’s always a challenge bringing new technology to market – to have interest from a well-regarded and high profile organisation such as Toll Group is very pleasing.

“Its acceptance and championing of CNG technology will encourage others to get on board and also reap the benefits.”

The Isuzu CNG range comprises four models: NLR 200, NPR 300, FSR 700 and FSR 850 CNG – all factory-backed.

Toll confirms forwarding push

 
As reported in T&Lnews on Tuesday, Toll Global Forwarding (TGF) will use its new Asian forwarding and logistics operations, based on its BALtrans acquisition, as a platform to build the TGF network in the Middle East, South Africa, Europe and North America.
 
Toll Holdings of Australia acquired BALtrans Logistics in early 2008 and completed the re-branding of the company as Toll Global Forwarding on 27 February 2009.
 
Toll and BALtrans had highly complementary businesses in terms of strategy, capability, customers and industry segments with growth-oriented cultures and minimal network overlap.
 
Hugh Cushing, chief executive officer of Toll Global Forwarding, said: “The re-branding of BALtrans’ global offices to Toll Global Forwarding is a key milestone for Toll’s ambition to establish its own global presence. With a well-established network of freight forwarding professionals in 65 company-owned offices across 26 countries in Asia, Australia, The Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Toll Global Forwarding can provide a comprehensive portfolio of logistics products and solutions to address our customers’ requirements.”
 
Toll generates annual consolidated revenues of AUD$5.6 billion and operates an extensive network of more than 700 sites in 45 countries across the world.
 
Regional director Europe and Middle East, (South Africa/Americas/Asia) John Gomes said: “Toll and BALtrans are an excellent fit, with no overlap. As a result, customers of the BALtrans business have seen over the past year that joining Toll has been all good news, with additional financial strength and resources being added to what was already an impressive and growing operation.
 
“The time is now right for us to unify all our forwarding activities under a single global brand, that clearly demonstrates the size and scope of our operations, and paves the way for further expansion of our network and services.”
 
Toll was founded in Australia in 1888 by Albert F. Toll as a coal haulage business, using horses and carts. The business was the subject of a management buyout in 1986, and since then has made more than 60 acquisitions. The group was listed on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange) in 1993, and now employs over 30,000 staff.
 
BALtrans was founded in 1982 and is a leading freight forwarding and logistics group in Asia Pacific with its headquarters in Hong Kong and over 65 offices worldwide. BALtrans offers a wide range of services including airfreight forwarding, sea freight forwarding, sea-air combination services, exhibition forwarding, air chartering, international household removal, marine insurance brokerage, project shipping and logistics provision. BALtrans was listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited from 1992 to 2008. The acquisition of the Jardine Logistics Group in 2003 was a key milestone in BALtrans’ pursuit of growing through acquisition. BALtrans was acquired by Toll Group in February 2008.
 
 
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