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Chinese pollution could boost Australian coal sector

A RESOURCE economist believes China's air pollution concerns could play to the Queensland coal sector's strengths.

CQUniversity regional economic development professor John Rolfe argues there is a flipside to China's push to use less coal.

He said the demand would be for "cleaner coal", with less ash and mud, and Australia had much more deposits than Indonesia, the industry's main competitor.

Professor Rolfe said Treasurer Curtis Pitt's statement that mining royalties paid to the Queensland Government would take an almost $3 billion dive over the next four years tallied with resource figures.

It is a big drop considering in 2014 coal companies paid the government $2 billion royalties.

Oversupply coupled with low demand have seen the industry suffer.

Prof Rolfe said by 2017 demand would again increase, but not to the high levels seen during the mining boom - much as coal prices would not be at the same prices.

The Opposition said Mr Pitt was preparing Queenslanders for a debt blow-out with his public comments about royalties write-downs.

"Treasurer Curtis Pitt is clearly looking for any excuse possible to justify breaking his debt reduction promise," LNP MP John-Paul Langbroek said.

But Mr Pitt said the budget would boost jobs and restore funding for frontline services in areas such as education, health and tourism.

- APN NEWSDESK



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