QRC changes tune, backs Labor with caveats
THE Queensland Resources Council today said Labor’s re-election as a majority government was “great news”, despite earlier indicating the party was not in the resource sector’s best interest.
It was only last Thursday at the Capricorn Enterprise Major Projects Forum in Rockhampton that QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane expressed his disappointment with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk because she had not guaranteed steady royalty rates on coal, metals and gas.
The LNP had promised a 10-year hold on current royalty rates for those commodities.
Mr Macfarlane, who was a Federal Liberal MP between 1998 adn 2016, said Labor’s approach was shortsighted and higher royalties meant less profit, less investment, and fewer jobs.
“It’s just bad economic policy to tax a wealth-creating industry out of existence,” he said at the time.
“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.
“We need that certainty to ensure that the jobs that are there now are maintained and future jobs as well get more investment.
“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.”
Today Mr Macfarlane said Labor’s plan for the resources industry was a blueprint for the growth of the sector.
The plan includes growth targets, the encouraging of exploration for coal, metals and gas, a 12-week consultation period on regulatory changes, and more.
But Mr Macfarlane repeated a commitment from the new government not to increase royalty rates was still needed.
“The Labor Government has previously committed to a three-year freeze on royalties for coal and metals and [a] five-year freeze on gas, and costings for its new four-year term do not include any changes to royalties, but the QRC is looking forward to the government’s confirmation of its plans,” he said.
“Stability on royalties is critical for our sector because it gives companies the confidence to invest more, employ more and export more.”
QRC data suggests Queensland’s resources sector supported 32,250 jobs and contributed more than $6.1 billion to the Rockhampton and Gladstone region’s economy over the past financial year.
That includes 5,409 direct full-time jobs and 26,841 indirect full-time jobs across the electorates of Rockhampton, Keppel and Gladstone.
Mr Macfarlane said the QRC will ask the re-elected Palaszczuk Government to act against the use of continuous court appeals preventing mines such as New Hope’s New Acland from getting started.