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Proposed ban on coal puts over 26,000 jobs at risk warns industry

One of Queensland’s industry groups that represents commercial developers of minerals and energy resources warns banning coal mining could leave more than 26,000 locals without work.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) says if the Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill (Qld) is passed in state parliament, six major thermal coal projects will be cancelled in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin. This will affect 13,900 construction jobs and an additional 12,803 operational positions, which the projects are estimated to create according to the Office of the Chief Economist’s December update.

“While anti-coal activists sneer at these jobs, they are an opportunity that regional Queenslanders are ready to grasp, especially given mining jobs are typically high-skilled and high-paying,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said in a public statement. “The bill proposes to rip up existing mining leases in the Galilee Basin. Not only would this trash Queensland’s reputation as a reliable place to invest, but it should send a chill through every industry in Queensland.”

QRC reveals the bill, which the Australian Greens introduced, could swiftly wipe $4.6 billion in royalty tax revenue from the Queensland Government’s next Budget.

“There is no magic source of money in Queensland. The budget depends upon investment and production in the resources industry to fund new projects whether they be roads, schools or hospitals, or even to fund the Greens’ own proposal for a Queensland Public Infrastructure Bank,” Macfarlane said.

QRC and the Queensland Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU previously made a joint submission to the Federal Government to oppose a similar Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition Bill) in federal parliament.

“Much like the similarly flawed bill before the Senate in the Federal Parliament, this proposal is counterproductive and counter to common sense,” Macfarlane said. “Not only would it fail to have any impact on changing global temperatures – its stated intention – but its anti-resources agenda would also risk the jobs of the 316,000 Queenslanders who work in the industry.”

QRC describes global demand for coal as strong, and notes International Energy Agency modelling shows coal will represent 40 per cent of total power generation sources across the Asia Pacific by the year 2040.

“If the Greens’ bid to ban coal in Queensland was successful that would simply mean the demand for coal would be met from other countries with lower quality coal, which would in turn lead to higher emissions,” Macfarlane said. “All Queensland resources projects go through a rigorous assessment process to balance economic, environmental and social impacts … it is a process that serves Queensland well and ensures an ongoing pipeline of investment.”

“The onus is on the rest of the Queensland Parliament to stand up for Queensland jobs and prosperity by emphatically ruling out this legislation and the ideas it proposes,” he added.

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