Following the election in May of the Albanese Labor Government, I was delighted and honoured to be appointed the new Minister for Resources and Northern Australia – the first woman to do this job.
I am fully aware of how much the coal sector means to the people of Queensland.
The Australian Government is fully committed to supporting our coal workers.
We understand the important role the sector plays in providing jobs, energy security and contributing economically to many regional areas of the country.
In Australia, the coal industry generates more than $10 billion annually in royalties, and provides more than 50,000 direct jobs.
Significantly, most of these are in regional areas, with the lion’s share in central Queensland and NSW’s Hunter Valley.
The numbers speak for themselves.
Queensland’s coal mines directly employ around 30,000 workers. That state’s coal export values have more than doubled to $52.3 billion in the past year. And in the last financial year, Queensland’s coal industry paid an estimated $7.3 billion in royalties across the state.
These royalties contribute to crucial new investments in roads, hospitals and schools, providing opportunities for current and future generations.
It’s a similar tale south of the border, with NSW coal export values and royalties increasing with rising commodity prices. It generates jobs, too, with the latest figures revealing NSW’s coal mines directly employed around 20,000 workers.
So there’s no disputing the importance of the sector to the livelihoods of tens-of-thousands of hard working Australian men and women.
A leading survey of mining and exploration companies revealed that Australia is seen internationally as one of the most attractive regions in the world for mining investment.
We’ll keep it that way by maintaining a stable investment environment, which is crucial to our ability to attract the next wave of resources investment.
Of course, the world’s energy mix is undergoing one of the largest transformations we’ve ever seen.
Against that backdrop – and the road to net zero – I see the mining sector as part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Put simply, the sector and its workers need support during this period of immense change.
We will do that by backing the development and deployment of new technologies to reduce carbon and methane emissions.
But if there’s anything we have learnt from the energy challenges gripping the world, it is that coal generation will continue to pay an important part in our energy mix for many years to come.
My goal is to make sure the resources industry is heading towards net zero, and that the community is aware of how the sector will play a role in meeting Australia’s new climate targets.
It’s clearly been a challenging couple of years for everyone involved in the sector – and the challenges are far from over. But the sector has ridden the bumps and is emerging in a strong position.
I am looking forward to working with the sector to ensure the coal industry remains healthy and continues its crucial contribution to the economy, to regional communities, and the livelihoods of so many Australians.
Hon Madeleine King MP
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia