Category Archives: CHARGES BILLS COSTS

Palmer notches $200m court win against Chinese state-owned enterprise Citic Pacific

Clive Palmer has described his victory in the long-running royalties battle in the Pilbara against Chinese state-owned enterprise Citic Pacific as a “win for all Australians”.

Palmer was awarded around $200 million in damages and a further $200 million to be paid annually for the next 30 years by the Western Australian Supreme Court last week in the dispute over royalty payments.

The dispute stems back to dealings between the two parties in 2006. Citic had paid Palmer $US415 million as part of takeover agreement, which included two separate royalties, for the Sino Iron project.

However, Citic refused to pay the second royalty, causing Minerlogy to make the claim in court.

WA Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Martin ruled that Citic’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Sino Iron and Korean Steel pay Palmer’s Mineralogy the damages.

“This is a win for Australian law over Chinese Communist Government powerhouses who have wasted precious court time, resources and energy,” Palmer said.

“Many Australian companies have lost these battles because they haven’t been able to afford to fight them.

“For too long they have used their power to try and crush Australian enterprise and thankfully today justice has been served.”

Another hearing will take place this week to address remaining issues in the dispute.

Henry Sapiecha

‘Credit repair’ agencies charge big money for what you easily can do yourself

Hi Nicole, I’m not sure why but I was just turned down for a car loan. I have a steady $80,000-a-year income. I don’t have much in savings but have started putting away $200 a fortnight. I suspect there might be something dodgy on my credit record back from my student days. I called a credit repair service I found – please don’t name them – that says they can clean up my credit file. I’d have to pay $1200 but they say I should be able to get my car after that. Is this a good idea? – Mike, Maroubra

No Mike… if this is not a scam, it’s darn close to it.

Has your debt levels spiralled out of control & gone off the rails? Then read this to FIX it.

So-called credit repair agencies have the same ability to rescue your record as you do yourself. Many will also try and migrate you onto other products – everything from a “budget management” program where you hand over your purse/wallet strings “for your own good”, to a negotiated “debt agreement” (if you were struggling with repayments) that’s extreme and similar to bankruptcy.

For this they’ll charge nose-bleed upfront fees and in many cases hit you with ransom-like, last-minute demands for more money.

But in the words of the Consumer Action Law Centre, which often deals with the messy aftermath: “These predatory companies are flourishing in a regulatory void. The current laws don’t prevent the harm.”

Do this instead Mike

1. Obtain a free copy of your credit report from Equifax (Veda rebranded), Experian or Dunn and Bradstreet. Don’t be fooled into paying for this; you’re entitled to one snail mail copy a year (and Dun and Bradstreet will even email it after a three-day delay).

Also for free you can get your credit rating itself – yes, we’re like the US now with a score and, increasingly, interest rates are based on it – from But you’ll need to create an account and (as with all such services) should expect emails from them.

2. Go through this with a fine-toothed comb. What’s on there that has hurt you? A bill missed by 60 days or more? Perhaps your name was on a share house utility … and your flatmates skipped out on it? It will be five years before this is expunged from your history – and (sorry) you’ll need to pay any outstanding debt.

3: Checking for errors is the only potential quick fix. Contact the provider first, then its ombudsman if necessary and finally a credit reporting agency to correct the mistake.

Meanwhile, don’t make more loan applications until you’re squeaky clean – they’ll drive your score down further. And take heart: Australia’s consumer ministers have just resolved to look at regulating debt management firms and announced a consumer education campaign to publicise the free alternatives. National Debt Helpline: 1800 007 007 or

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is a money educator and consumer advocate: You can write to her for help solving your money problem, or with a consumer question, at