The Palaszczuk Government would jeopardise Queensland coal exports to Japan if it increased the rate of royalties on resource commodities when it delivers its State Budget next month.
On the eve of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visiting Tokyo, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said US coal exports to Japan were at five year highs, and a royalty hike could make US coal more attractive than Queensland coal in the Japanese market.
“Coal is Queensland’s biggest export commodity and Japan is one of our longest and most important markets,” Macfarlane said.
“When we have supply problems, such as in the wake of damaging cyclones, US coal often fills the shortfall.
“US coal exports to Japan increased by 35% between 2017 and 2018. Let’s not help US coal miners. Let’s not help Donald Trump steal mining jobs from Queensland.
“Our royalty rates and taxes in Queensland are among the highest in the world already. The Palaszczuk Government is set to take a record of almost AUS$4.5 billion in coal royalties this financial year based on the current rates.
“If we make Queensland coal even more expensive, key markets like Japan may look elsewhere. That means a loss of exports, employment and investment for Queensland.
“With Queensland’s unemployment rate of 5.9% among the nation’s highest, Queenslanders – particularly in the regions – cannot afford more attacks and more tax on the resources industry from the Palaszczuk Government.
“On behalf of Queenslanders, we urge the Premier to rule out changes to royalty rates. We also urge the Premier, as Trade Minister, to reassure Japanese coal investors and importers in Tokyo that there will be no royalty change and encourage them to continue to buy Queensland coal and support Queensland jobs and Queensland communities.”
Macfarlane said while Victorian voters and the likes of Bob Brown might not support the resources sector – yet rely on it for their everyday lives – all Queenslanders do.
In 2017-18, the resources industry supported more than 315 000 jobs in Queensland. The coal industry alone supported more than 200 000 full time equivalent jobs or 9% of Queensland’s total workforce. The sector also contributed AUS$43.4 billion to the State’s economy, supported more than 6000 local businesses and more than 560 community organisations.