Throwing rocks: Attack on Greens ‘long overdue’ says resources boss

The Queensland Resources Council is refusing to back down to some of its mining giant partners and instead says its political campaign targetting the Greens was “long overdue”.

Oct 08, 2020, updated Oct 08, 2020
A QRC campaign billboard near the Story Bridge.

A QRC campaign billboard near the Story Bridge.

The campaign has led to two of its members, BHP and Origin, suspending their membership and others, like South32, expressing concern. It’s understood Anglo Coal holds similar concerns, but Rio Tinto, Glencore and some of the major coal and gas companies have remained silent.

Anglo, South32 and BHP are on the 14-person board of the QRC. Origin is not on the board but it has a 37 per cent stake in APLNG, which is on the board.

The new-found aggression from the QRC follows a rising tide of anger in the industry. Thermal coal producers Adani and New Hope have both mounted highly political campaigns targeting the Labor Government and activists.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said an awareness campaign in targeted state seats to encourage voters to ‘put their job first and the Greens last’ was designed to start a conversation about the importance of the resources industry to the Queensland economy and to jobs.

“The resources industry contributes a massive $74 billion annually to the state budget and $63 billion – or 80 per cent – of Queensland’s total exports,” Macfarlane said.

Macfarlane said it was time for the resources industry to better promote its value to the wider community and to speak out publicly against policies that were bad for the industry and bad for Queenslanders. A key election policy of the Greens is to impose an additional $50 billion in extra taxes on the state’s resources sector over the next four years to fund green initiatives, effectively lifting the tax rate on resources by four to five times its current rate.

His attack came as the Greens announced a $370 million plan to establish a universal, free school breakfast and lunch program in every state primary and secondary school in Queensland to be funded by increased mining royalties worth $55 billion over four years.

Macfarlane said the Greens’ policy would have a devastating impact on the viability of the resources industry and the state’s economy and cost tens of thousands of Queenslanders jobs across the sector.

“Resources has literally been a life raft for the Queensland economy this year, especially during COVID-19, where we’ve managed to maintain almost full production and employment under very difficult circumstances,” he said.

“It’s unfair on our workers, many of whom are based in regional and remote areas, not to speak out about a policy that is designed to destroy their jobs and companies, and the communities in which they operate.

“We want people to know that a vote for the Greens is a vote against the mining and gas industry and a vote against jobs and economic stability in Queensland and that will affect every one of us.”

Macfarlane said every Queenslander should be proud of the economic and job contribution of the mining and gas industry in this state.

“In the past there’s been a reluctance by mining and gas companies to talk publicly about what they’re doing or to even feel proud of what they’re doing, because of the constant threat of disruption and harassment by environmental activists,” he said.

“By running this awareness campaign, the QRC is saying to the people of Queensland – please be very careful about who you vote for on October 31, because a vote for the Greens is a vote against jobs and a vote against a post-COVID economic recovery,” Macfarlane said.

“The next government in Queensland must show strong, intelligent leadership that takes into account the needs of all sectors in the community and not bow to the bullying of extreme environmental activists.

“The impacts of COVID-19 aren’t going away anytime soon, so we’re asking people to put their job first and vote the Greens last in this state election.”

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