Extreme levies will flow back to employees impacted by the transition to green alternatives.
The Queensland Government recently predicted coal royalties would jumped 25.8 per cent to $10.7 billion during the 2023 financial year. A supply shortfall due to “weather disruptions” across New South Wales, and soaring demand due to the escalating Ukraine-Russia conflict, is expected to keep commodity prices high. This theoretically gives the Sunshine State a $2.2B budget surplus.
State Treasury confirmed about 6 per cent of this amount will go towards a so-called $150 million job security guarantee, which is promised to help coal workers gain the training, skills and opportunities required to transition away from fossil fuels.
“No worker will be out of a job. The guarantee will be backed by a fund and a new tripartite energy workers’ charter between unions, government and employers. These workers will have guaranteed opportunities to continue their careers within publicly owned energy businesses or pursue other career pathways,” the department said in its latest energy and jobs plan.
Impacted employees will receive the following support:
- training or skills development to secure opportunities in the future energy sector or emerging industries
- transfer between publicly owned energy corporations to secure new, ongoing employment opportunities
- extend careers, where eligible, to support Queensland’s safe, reliable, and secure energy system
- advice on career options with dedicated future pathway managers within publicly owned energy businesses.
“A job security guarantee is an investment in Queensland’s energy talent and will help to deliver Queensland’s clean energy future. The government intends to prepare legislation for this guarantee to create an enduring framework and certainty for workers,” the plan said.
A further $1B in shares will pay for regional infrastructure projects, $200M will be invested in a decarbonisation regional fund, and $75M on infrastructure supporting critical minerals extraction.
“We have secured a big win for Queensland by securing a share of the windfall profits made by coal companies,” state Treasurer Cameron Dick said according to the Australian Associated Press.
“This shows that coal royalties are worth fighting for, delivering a fair share for Queenslanders.”
Dick believes coal spot prices will stay high for at least 12 months.
“Distortion of global energy markets has resulted in coal prices remaining higher for longer than anticipated in the budget. The premium thermal coal spot price has also risen above hard coking coal spot prices for the first time on record,” he said according to News Limited.
“As coal prices return to more normal levels beyond the current financial year the dividend from the new tiers is forecast to fall accordingly, delivering an average $153M each year across the remaining three years of the forward estimates.”
The remarks came after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ordered both Queensland and NSW governments to urgently introduce coal price caps before the end of 2022.
“What we are looking at is trying to act before Christmas … so that there is no actual delay in anything except the formal meeting that will take place now on Friday – we had to make a call pretty quickly,” he said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.