Coal wars ramp up as Premier calls for resources lobby boss to be shown the door

The brawling between the Palaszczuk Government and the mining sector stepped up on Tuesday as the Premier called for new leadership of the Queensland Resources Council.

Nov 29, 2022, updated Nov 29, 2022
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane 
(Photo: QRC)

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane (Photo: QRC)

Her call followed the launch last week of a major advertising campaign funded by mining companies against the government’s new regime of mining royalties which the industry has claimed were now the highest in the world and would severely impact commercial operations.

The QRC has not revealed the cost of the campaign but there have been reports it could be as high as $40 million. The LNP Opposition also claimed that the government had spent $200 million on various forms of advertising since it came to power.

But the government hit back with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying “perhaps they should find someone else to run the QRC” other than Ian Macfarlane, a former Liberal minister in the Howard and Abbott governments.

“I think that the resources council under Ian Macfarlane, the former National Party Minister, is running a campaign backed by those opposite.”

(Macfarlane actually sat as the Liberal Party member for Groom.)

The Premier also warned the Federal Government against any imposition of a price cap on coal in Queensland.

Treasurer Cameron Dick also attacked the QRC claims that Queensland’s coal royalties were the world’s highest.

“At prices below $US300 a tonne, Indonesia’s effective royalties are higher than Queensland’s,” Dick said.

“Today, the price of coal is $US247 a tonne ($A370). Anyone who tells you Queensland has the highest royalties in the world is being deliberately dishonest.

“Queensland’s resources sector is helped by accurate data and honest conversations, not by half-truths.”

But Macfarlane was not backing down.

“The QRC stands behind its figures, which have been validated by a Commodity Insights report released last month,” he said.

“The council remains open to a meeting with the State Government to discuss the impact of the world’s highest coal royalty taxes on the resources sector.”

The report cited by Macfarlane said the government massively understated how much revenue it would receive from the higher royalties. It said the highest tier in the royalties of 40 per cent, which kicks in when the coal price hits $A300 a tonne, was four times higher than the next nearest and almost five times the global average.

The government imposed the new royalties to grab a slice of the massive price increases experienced in the sector this year, some of which shifted offshore because of foreign shareholders of Queensland mining operations.

It released a report last week which said that Indonesia, which is a major competitor in the thermal coal market, increased its royalties with a marginal rate royalty of 28 per cent for prices over $US100 a tonne.

Treasury said at that price, the Queensland royalty was 12.5 per cent.






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