A vessel carrying 43 new coal wagons arrived at Gladstone Ports Corporation's Auckland Point Terminal earlier this year.
A vessel carrying 43 new coal wagons arrived at Gladstone Ports Corporation's Auckland Point Terminal earlier this year.

MINISTER: Investing in coal will benefit region in many ways

THE Minister for Resources says the Federal Government's priority is "not emissions in 2050" but rather "getting people's household bills down".

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan visited Gladstone last week and met with Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd to discuss findings from the December 2018 Resources and Energy Quarterly.

As well as a notable surge in liquid natural gas exports, the figures revealed coal export earnings were expected to reach a record $67billion in 2018-19.

Mr Canavan said investing in coal would create jobs for the Gladstone region and lower residential electricity prices.

"We're focused on getting more competitive prices by encouraging more power and also supporting investment in reliable power including in coal," Mr Canavan said.

However, State Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Dr Anthony Lynham said on average Queensland had the cheapest energy prices of all the mainland states and would benefit by continued investment in renewable energy.

"Queensland has the lowest prices in the country, reliable supply, and a planned transition to renewables, all clear, consistent policy that gives investors confidence to build generation," Dr Lynham said.

His comments came after results from an independent Australian Energy Market Commission report which revealed South-East Queensland's household power prices were falling because of renewable energy, wherein a two-person household could expect to pay about $76 less by July 2020.

Meanwhile, the recent Coal 2018 - Analysis and Forecasts to 2023 report by International Energy Agency has indicated the demand for Australian coal is expected to grow over the next five years, and Mr Canavan said Gladstone had a big role to play with one of the country's largest coal ports.

"We were forecasting coal prices to moderate over this year as markets rebalance and while they've gone down slightly they're still well above what our forecasts were," the minister said.

"What this shows in the last two and a half years is there's strong underlying demand particularly for high quality coal.

"That's the really important message ... coals ain't coals, there are different quality coals all around the world ... What marks our industry out is not its quantity, it's its quality."

Mr Canavan said state government officials should offer stronger support for Central Queensland coal projects as Queensland's unemployment rate remained high at 6.4 per cent.

In response a state government spokesman said they would continue to support job creation in regional centres such as Gladstone.

"Earlier this month, the first shipment of bauxite from Rio Tinto's Amrun project in Far North Queensland sailed into central Queensland," the spokesman said.

"The 80,000-plus tonne cargo will be refined and smelted in Gladstone, where about 3000 people work at the Yarwun and Queensland Aluminium Limited alumina refineries.

"Also for as long as the world needs steel, it will look to the Bowen Basin as its pre-eminent supplier of metallurgical coal and that means exports from Gladstone."

The State Government's goal is to power the state with 50 per cent renewables by 2030, as part of its Queensland Climate Transition Strategy.

Clean Energy Regulator's National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting figures for 2016-17 revealed Queensland continued to lead the country in greenhouse gas production, contributing 27.4 per cent to the emissions total.

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