Queensland can become Australia’s number one ‘Energy State’ and a global energy superpower thanks to abundant coal and gas reserves and easy access to renewables, Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said today.
Mr Macfarlane told a gathering of more than 500 people at the QRC’s annual lunch in Brisbane, which featured Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s first major industry address since her government’s re-election, that Queensland was on the verge of an historic new era for resources.
He said Queensland’s ability in the not too distant future to produce vast amounts of zero-emission green hydrogen from solar and wind-generated electricity and the CCS-Pyrolysis process on coal and gas would position Queensland as a significant, reliable source of clean energy to meet growing world energy needs.
“The Palaszczuk government’s agreement to work with the QRC to deliver a Queensland Resources Development Plan will enable Queensland to work and earn our way out of COVID, supercharging Queensland’s economic recovery and delivering decades of responsible prosperity,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“A coordinated response is an opportunity to put Queensland – and hundreds of thousands of Queensland jobs – at the international forefront of areas such as advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and battery storage deployment and hydrogen industry development.”
Mr Macfarlane said there were strong parallels between the plan and the historic 1968 Central Queensland Coal Associates Agreement which put Queensland’s coalfields on the global resources map half a century ago.
“Just as that historic agreement established a new foundation for growth in investment, jobs, production and exports in Queensland’s coal industry at the time, a well-implemented Resources Industry Development Plan will take our industry to a whole new level,” he said.
“In the meantime, the resources sector remains committed to ensuring our sector operates responsibly, respectfully and safely and we will never lose sight of the fact there are families and a global community of people relying on us to do just that.
“Mr Macfarlane said the industry’s latest economic contribution data shows resources added a record $82.6 billion to the Queensland economy over the past financial year, equating to a $10 million contribution from resources every hour of every day.
“Resources contributes one in every five dollars to the Queensland economy and one in six jobs, which is why our sector’s performance is so crucial to a strong COVID recovery,” he said. Mr Macfarlane said the number of jobs supported by resources rose by 13 percent in 2019-20 to more than 420,000 jobs. Of these, almost 53,000 people are direct employees and more than 367,000 jobs are supported by the sector. The number of Queensland businesses directly supported by resources rose 5 percent to 15,200, with companies reporting a 19 percent increase in spending to reach $27 billion.
Mr Macfarlane said resource companies exported $56.5 billion worth of goods last year, which represented 80 percent of Queensland’s total exports.
“This export result has been achieved at a time of global market upheaval and volatile commodity prices, which makes it an even more extraordinary outcome,” he said.
Mr Macfarlane said every Queenslander benefits from the billions of dollars in royalties that resources companies pay annually to the State Government, with the industry contributing $4.5 billion in 2019-20.
“The royalty taxes contributed each year by resources companies help the Queensland Government pay for the nurses and doctors who care for our families, the teachers who educate our children, the police officers who keep us safe, and the hospitals, schools and roads we need for our communities to function,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“When you take into account the overall contribution of resources to the state economy – the value of the jobs we support, economic activity we generate, taxes we pay, businesses we support, commodities we export plus royalties – our contribution is extremely significant.”
Mr Macfarlane said QRC members are heartened by the Premier’s commitment to work with industry to develop a plan to chart Queensland’s recovery from COVID-19 and beyond.
“I hope in 50 years’ time people will talk about the Queensland Resources Development Plan in the same way they speak about the Central Queensland Coal Associates Agreement of 1968,” he said.
“The QRC looks forward to working with the Premier and her government to maximise Queensland’s ability to recover from COVID and become Australia’s number one Energy State.
“You can count on resources to help Queensland recover.”