OPINION: Exciting Year Ahead

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Welcome to 2023 and what is shaping up as another exciting year for our industry.

Two important reports released in January have again highlighted just how important it is to Queensland’s economic wellbeing, and to the people lucky enough to live in this great state.

It was pleasing to hear Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, acknowledge the enormous contribution the resources sector has made to Queensland over many decades, driving our economic growth and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He referenced new analysis by Treasury that confirmed the resources sector has been a major contributor to improving Queensland’s social mobility as well. That is, it’s helping each generation make better lives for themselves and their families through secure and well-paid jobs.

Over the last few decades, these jobs have helped lift young people out of disadvantage into a more prosperous future.

It’s all about passing on better opportunities to the next generation, and the resources sector is playing an important role in achieving that here in Queensland.

Also last month, CommSec’s State of the State quarterly survey placed Queensland’s economy in the top spot for the first time in 13 years.

It is no surprise that our resources and energy sector, particularly coal and gas, played a key role in achieving that position, along with tourism and population growth.

The result backs up the QRC’s Economic Contribution Report that revealed the resources sector contributed a record $94.6 billion to the Queensland economy in the 2021/22 financial year.

This included a record $9 billion in royalties, with $7.3 billion coming directly from Queensland coal producers.

These terrific benefits delivered by the resources sector are the result of significant investment decisions in new projects that were made years, even decades ago.

If our industry is to continue to provide similar benefits for our children and grandchildren, we need resources companies to be making big, long-term investment decisions now.

While it’s pleasing to hear the Federal Treasurer publicly acknowledge the importance of the resources sector, it needs to be backed up by policies at State and Federal Government levels that promote and encourage new investment.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing the opposite.

At the Federal Government level, as part of a misguided attempt to ease rising energy costs, a price cap on coal and gas has been introduced in an unprecedented market intervention.

The Government is yet to explain how the policy will reduce power costs.

In Queensland, the State Government has imposed the world’s highest coal royalty tax rates without proper consultation, severely damaging our reputation as stable and reliable place to invest in major projects.

In its latest update to the stock market, BHP again warned the “decision to raise coal royalties to the highest maximum rate in the world makes Queensland uncompetitive and puts investment and jobs at risk.”

It’s a sentiment shared by other big investors including Glencore, Peabody and Japan, and as the reports I mentioned show, the impact will be felt by all Queenslanders.

This is why the QRC will continue its campaign to urge the Queensland Government to reconsider its decision.

I encourage every person involved in the resources sector to follow our campaign and learn about what’s at stake for future generations through the Keep Queensland Competitive website.

Ian Macfarlane

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive

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