Canavan calls out State Govt's 'running battle' with mining
ONE year since winning the state election, the Queensland Government has copped criticism over its handling of the resources sector.
In an opinion piece, Federal Resources Minister Senator Matt Canavan took aim at the State Government's handling of the mining sector over the past month, which he described as "engaging in a running battle with one of Queensland's most important industries”.
"The debate has surfaced because the radical, left-wing Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad decided to attach last- minute amendments to a mining bill on the resources industry,” Senator Canavan said.
"These amendments would have retrospectively added billions of dollars to the rehabilitation requirements of Queensland mines.
"If they had passed, some mines would have immediately become insolvent and would have had to shut.
"Ernst & Young forecast that 2500 jobs could be lost.
"In the end, this whole saga has proved unnecessary as the Labor Government backed down from their threats.”
He renewed accusations that the Queensland Government sought to gain political advantage by appeasing the Greens party agenda, pointing to its "backflip” in support for NAIF funding for Adani's Carmichael mine rail line - "a project that promises to create more than 10,000 jobs”.
"Despite the Labor Government's best efforts it looks like the Adani project will go ahead,” he said.
"Let's hope that Labor doesn't once again try to snuff out job creation which is so desperately required in our whole state - and especially in north Queensland.”
A Queensland Government spokesperson responded to Senator Canavan's accusations.
"The Palaszczuk Government recognises that the resources sector has long been the backbone of Queensland's economy and will continue to be a source of comparative advantage and traditional strength for Queensland into the future,” the spokesperson said.
"The mining sector has long had the support of successive Labor Governments and will continue to do so.
"We will continue to champion the resources sector because we understand that it remains central to Queensland's economic future.”
In the latest ABS export data to September this year, the spokesperson said Queensland's merchandise exports totalled $77.6 billion - more than New South Wales and Victoria combined.
The three biggest contributors came from Queensland's resources sector, with metallurgical coal exports worth $7 billion, up 10 per cent on a year earlier; LNG worth $3.5 billion, up over 51 per cent; and other minerals including copper, aluminium and zinc worth nearly $3 billion and up 44 per cent.
"That strength in the current exports is reflected in confidence in exploration,” the spokesperson said.
"Investment in mineral exploration has increased by more than 37 per cent to almost $283 million in 12 months, and by 3 per cent since March this year. Exploration for copper is up 41 per cent, gold is up 21 per cent and gas exploration expenditure is up 7.8 per cent on the previous 12 months to $164 million.
"We want more jobs in the resources sector, right across the life cycle of projects. That includes pre-exploration, through construction and operation to rehabilitation.”
At the Queensland Resources Council Lunch this week, the spokesperson said the Premier thanked the mining industry for the trust and good faith it exhibited through the complex negotiations that ensured the passage of the Government's new laws to reform the resource sector's financial assurance arrangements.
"These new laws strike the right balance between a viable resources sector and the environment,” the spokesperson said.
"It will enable the Government to deliver better environmental results while increasing rehabilitation investment in the industry.”
The spokesperson also quoted a speech given by QRC's CEO Ian Macfarlane, who paid tribute to the Premier's visit to the QRC luncheon and her work with the resource sector.
"We've spent the last couple of weeks, or rather the better part of this year, working with the Government to deliver world standard rehabilitation, while at the same time continuing to attract the investment we need to keep our resources sector strong,” Mr Macfarlane said.
"I must say, we made quite a few treks up to 1 William St while we were hammering this out, so much so that I started to feel almost as much at home there as I did at Parliament House in Canberra.
"Thank you Premier and your government for your willingness to meet with the resources industry and hear our point of view.
"Ultimately our objectives are the same. A world-leading resources industry in terms of job creation, in terms of economic value, and in terms of environmental outcomes.
"The resources sector can achieve its greatest outcomes in partnership with the Government.”