The mining and gas industry of Queensland today expressed its disappointment at Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s refusal to guarantee it will not increase royalty rates on coal, metals and gas over the next four years if Labor is re-elected to govern Queensland.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said while the QRC had welcomed Labor’s pledge not to increase taxes, fees and charges, the industry was very uneasy about the failure of the Premier to commit to not raising royalties in the next term of government if elected.
In contrast, the LNP has provided a guarantee for a 10-year hold at current levels on royalty rates on these commodities.
Mr Macfarlane said Queensland’s resources companies already pay Australia’s highest royalty rates and contributed $82.6 billion to the Queensland economy in the last financial year, an increase of $5 billion on the year before.
Labor has previously committed to a three-year freeze for coal and metals, and a five-year freeze for gas, but the QRC has repeatedly asked the Labor Government to extend this to make the Queensland resources industry more competitive globally.
“The amount of time it takes to approve new projects in Queensland – Adani’s Carmichael Project took 9 years and New Hope’s New Acland mine still isn’t approved after 14 years – means a longer royalty timeframe is essential for Queensland companies to attract new investors,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Existing resources companies also need royalty stability to keep their operations competitive and maintain the jobs of the 420,000-plus men and women who rely on the resources sector to support their families and businesses.”
Mr Macfarlane said the QRC has asked the Palaszczuk Government to offer the same commitment to resources provided by the LNP to stimulate a resources-led economic recovery for Queensland.
“It’s just bad economic policy to tax a wealth-creating industry out of existence, especially an industry like resources that has demonstrated its value and resilience to Queensland during COVID,” he said.
“Resources has kept the Queensland economy financially stable and continues to support the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people in spite of the enormous and costly challenge of maintaining our operations during this pandemic.”
Mr Macfarlane said Labor’s refusal to commit to keeping royalty rates at current levels until at least June 2025 shows a short-sighted approach to growing the state economy, and a lack of understanding about how to stimulate growth and jobs.
“This doesn’t bode well for the next four years in the event of a Palaszczuk Government because resources is one of the key industries right now that can help Queensland produce, work and earn its way out of COVID,” he said.
“It’s now up to voters to decide on Saturday which candidates from which parties provide the most certainty and support for jobs in the resources sector.
“This is particularly important for voters in regional areas, who understand the value of the resources industry to jobs and the economy.”