Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Matt Taylor
Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: Matt Taylor

Hard-line approach needed on China coal ban: Christensen

Dawson MP George Christensen wants a tough approach in dealing with China and has backed Matt Canavan’s call for a levy on iron ore exports to the country.

Responding to reports that China has formally black-listed Australian coal, Mr Christensen said the Federal Government had flagged the issue with the World Trade Organisation.

But he said going down this path would take time.

“I hope and I expect that the government is seriously considering what actions can be immediately put in place regarding China,” the Dawson MP said.

“One suggestion that has come forward from Senator Matt Canavan is that we should put a levy on our iron ore exports to China.

“I hope that is something the government is seriously considering.”

Chinese state-owned media reported on Sunday that Australia had been “shut-out” of a new coal policy that gave power plants approval to import coal without customs restrictions from every country but ours.

Mr Christensen said all options should be put on the table and urged the government to be “robust” in its response to China’s actions.

“We are not powerless in this relationship,” he said.

“China doesn’t like certain things being done and said.

“There are things Australia could do and say if we’re left with no other options.”

The Dawson MP has previously called on Queensland to find new trading partners, such as India, in the long-term.

COAL FIRED: Callide Power Stations B and C.
COAL FIRED: Callide Power Stations B and C.

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But federal trade spokeswoman Madeleine King urged the Morrison Government to come up with a “genuine plan” and to make trade diversification a national priority.

“The government’s set-and-forget attitude to free trade agreements (are) not good enough,” Ms King said.

“Mr Morrison has failed to deliver leadership on the China relationship and has failed to admonish inflammatory behaviour by his backbenchers that has made a bad situation worse.”

It understood local industry leaders maintain that China’s coal ban relates to thermal coal for power plants and not the metallurgical coal that is predominantly produced in the Bowen Basin.

Mr Christensen said China’s ban would impact thermal coal producers and not metallurgical coal producers.

“For the many metallurgical coal mines that exist in our region, we are not going to have a problem apart from the fact there is a downturn in international steel production because of the pandemic – which is a very big problem to start with anyway,” he said.

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