The resources industry has come out strongly on the eve of the state election urging Queenslanders to vote for candidates who will protect jobs reliant on the mining and gas industry and who support the resources sector as the state begins the path back to economic recovery post COVID.
“The prospect of Labor taxing its way out of COVID-19 by imposing massive royalty increases on the mining, gas and energy sector and potentially forming government with the Greens has emerged as a key point of difference between the two major parties on election eve,” Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane said today.
“This scenario is now a distinct possibility if Labor come out on top in tomorrow’s poll but doesn’t have a clear majority,” he said.
The Greens’ support for a Labor Government is conditional on the ALP agreeing to impose an extra $55 billion worth of royalties on the resources sector over the next four years in an effort to shut mining down.
“Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has repeatedly declined the opportunity to sign a letter to the QRC guaranteeing not to govern with the Greens nor to increase royalty taxes in the next term of government.
“This is of great concern to the resources sector,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Mr Macfarlane said an ALP-Greens alliance will mean royalty rates on Queensland resources companies – which already pay the highest royalty rates in Australia – would quadruple overnight and cripple the state’s mining sector.
“The only outcome from this iresponsible and destructive Greens’ policy are large-scale job losses, mass company closures and the destruction of regional and rural communities – all of which would have a diabolical, long term effect on the state economy,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“You can’t tax an industry out of existence and expect that industry to keep contributing $82.6 billion to the state economy, adding $4.5 billion in royalties to the state budget and exporting $56.5 billion worth of commodities each year – it just doesn’t make sense.
“Resources supports the jobs of 420,000 people in Queensland – 52,676 directly and 367,493 indirectly. What are they going to do? I can tell you where there aren’t 420,000 jobs – and that’s in the Greens policy agenda.”
Despite months of requests for written assurances from the Palaszczuk Government that it will not increase royalties during its next term if elected, the ALP had declined to give the QRC any written assurance.
Mr Macfarlane said this was in contrast to the LNP, which has given the QRC a commitment to a 10-year royalty tax hold at current levels and a promise not to govern with the Greens.
“The resources industry is committed to working with the next State Government to help Queensland recover and come back even stronger with a more diversified sector including renewables and lower emission technology as part of the mix,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“That’s why the QRC has created a post-COVID Resources Industry Development Plan – to show show how resources can increase our operations responsibly, offer more employment opportunities, increase our economic contribution to Queensland, increase our exports and increase the royalties we pay into the state budget to fund nurses, doctors, teachers, hospitals, schools and roads.
“That’s the way to survive a massive global downturn – Queensland is a resource-rich state, and we’re in a position to work and earn our way out of COVID if the next government makes sensible, long-term economic decisions that will benefit generations to come.
“It’s foolish to cripple one of the only industries right now that is still operating at near-full capacity and employing at full capacity and has the potential to expand and create even more jobs and prosperity and security for more people.”
The State Government has previously commited to a three-year royalty hold on coal and metals, due to expire in mid-2022, and a five-year hold on gas, due to expire mid-2024.
Mr Macfarlane said the LNP has promised a 10-year hold on royalty rates for these commodities to boost large-scale investment and create jobs, yet the ALP has refused to match this commitment.
“When it becamer clear the Labor Government would not consider a 10-year hold on royaty rates, the QRC then asked for a minimum five-year hold on all commodities to June 2025, covering the term of the next Queensland Government, but the ALP wouldn’t agree to this either, making us very nervous about their plans for resources,” he said.
“Tomorrow is election day and the QRC is saying to the people who haven’t voted yet – please vote for candidates who support the mining and gas industry and please vote the Greens last.
“Voters can visit the QRC website to see what their local candidates’ position is on the mining and gas industry, based on a QRC survey conducted over the past two weeks.
“We are all in uncharted waters right now and there is no way of knowing how long this pandemic will last, so now is not the time to risk your own job security, and the financial security of your family.