OPINION: Coal’s Phenomenal Contribution

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The Queensland Resources Council headed into the heart of Queensland’s coal country in early May for the second of our 2023 Resources Roundups.

It was great to see over 80 people from industry, politics and the local community gather at Moranbah in the Bowen Basin to discuss, and learn about, issues of importance to our sector.

While it was disappointing no state or federal government MP’s attended, it was great to have a large contingent of Opposition and federal crossbench MP’s, as well as Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker support this important industry event.

Many thanks to Bowen Coking Coal who sponsored the Moranbah Resources Roundup and hosted a tour by MPs of its Burton Mine Complex the following day for its official re-opening. This mining operation employs 500 people and generates business opportunities for Queenslanders throughout its supply chain.

The event in the Bowen Basin coincided with the release of new figures by the QRC revealing the Queensland Government’s forecast on revenue for this financial year is off-target by a staggering 600 per cent, following its decision to impose the world’s highest coal royalty tax.

When it was introduced a year ago, the Government claimed the new royalty scheme would raise an additional $800 million this financial year for a total of $5.5 billion. Analysis from the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly Report issued by the Office of the Chief Economist confirms the higher coal royalty tax will raise more than $5 billion extra for the State Government and the total royalty revenue from the coal sector will exceed $13 billion. 

The QRC said from the outset that the Queensland Government is grossly underestimating both the revenue from the higher royalty rates, and its negative impact on investment in the state’s resources sector.

Even without the excessive increase in royalty tax rates, the coal sector would still deliver a record $8 billion in royalties to the State Government. There was no need to damage Queensland’s international reputation as a reliable place to invest in projects by imposing an excessive new tax regime.

It’s a phenomenal contribution by a sector that already underpins the state economy and means the Government can afford to pay for the schools, hospitals, roads and other essential services we all rely on.

The May Federal Budget confirmed the importance of the resources sector to the national economy. While the Federal Government had predicted a Budget deficit this year, thanks to an $8 billion boost in tax payments from resources companies, it achieved a surplus of $4.2 billion.

On a positive note for the coal sector, I was very pleased to attend the official opening of New Hope’s New Acland Stage 3 project near Oakey.

It’s been the most scrutinised coal project in Queensland’s history, with the company enduring 16 years of approval delays by government and court action by activists.

New Hope deserves full credit for its perseverance and it’s terrific to see hundreds of workers returning to the area, providing a real boost to the local economy and to Queensland. While activists are still trying to use the courts to delay the project, I hope the Queensland Government will show its support for a legitimate business that has passed every level of scrutiny possible. 

Ian Macfarlane

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive

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