The Queensland Resources Council is calling on the 60,000 workers across the state’s resources sector and the additional 300,000 workers whose jobs depend on the sector to support political parties at the upcoming federal election that will secure their jobs.
This call follows evidence coming to light of political candidates demonising the resources sector on social media, and casting a shadow over an industry that employs many tens of thousands of Queenslanders and pays to governments billions of dollars in royalties and taxes that pay for vital infrastructure and services.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said the candidates’ social media claims, such as comparing coal to heroin, were a blight on the resources sector and he called on the leaders of the major political parties to stand up for one of Queensland’s economic pillars.
“In Queensland alone, the resources sector contributed $2.1 billion in royalties last financial year, which is the equivalent of funding the salaries of 35,000 teachers, 30,000 nurses or about 32,000 police officers,” Mr Roche said.
“During this federal election, we need political candidates to stand shoulder to shoulder with one of the heavy lifters of the economy, and remember that the revenue from our sector helps to fund many of their election promises.”
While we all aspire to have a lower-emissions future, the facts are that this won’t happen overnight, and until it does, people should be supporting the use of our lower-emission, higher-energy coal and gas, Mr Roche said.
“Let’s not forget, 75 per cent of Queensland’s coal exports are coking coal that is used to make the steel in the renewables that those aspiring for a lower-emission future are calling for,’ he said.
“A one megawatt wind turbine requires 220 tonnes of coking coal to make the steel the tower and blades.
“So the Mount Emerald 170 megawatt wind farm development recently touted by the State government will require an estimated 37,400 tonnes of coking coal. That’s enough coal to fill about 3 and a half coal trains, each comprising of 136 wagons.
“Another fact is that jobs from renewables don’t compare at present. That Mount Emerald 170 megawatt wind farm will permanently employ up to 15 people.
“By contrast the recently re-opened Isaac Plains coking coal mine will employ 150 people directly. A recently approved solar farm in the Burdekin will have five permanent jobs after construction. The solar panels will however require 16 mined metals and minerals from the resources sector.”