A six-point plan would ensure Queensland’s resources sector is globally competitive and well-positioned to take advantage of the next upturn in demand, according to Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.
Mr Roche spoke at the Resource Industry Network lunch in Mackay today, and said the industry should be working closely with all governments to overcome or reduce the impacts of legal and regulatory impediments for resource projects.
He said his greatest fear was that federal and state governments had no answer to the opportunities that legal loopholes in current laws gave to well-funded, motivated green activists to disrupt and delay large job-generating resource projects.
Mr Roche outlined the QRC’s six-point industry plan:
• Federal and state governments must close legal loopholes to limit the ‘disrupt and delay’ tactics of green activists
• Ensure that infrastructure such as rail and port capacity is improved to keep pace with current and future demand
• Queensland must ensure its land tenure system is efficient, predictable and user-friendly
• Governments must reduce costs from red tape and require from companies realistic amounts in rehabilitation bonds
• Stability and certainty for resource royalties must extend beyond the current term of the Queensland Parliament
• Industry will have to ensure they continue to keep their own costs under control to remain globally competitive.
“Royalty stability is on our must-have list from government in the interests of long-term investment in Queensland,” Mr Roche told the audience.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to royalty stability in this term of government has been very welcome but that commitment runs out in 2018 – at the latest – with the calling of the next state election.
“We should have bipartisan political support for royalty stability over the life of projects, not the life of governments.”
Mr Roche presented some disturbing case studies on how green activist groups are successfully using every opportunity under state and federal laws to block billions of dollars in investment and many thousands of jobs for regional Queensland.
“I will be throwing out the challenge to state and federal governments to act to ensure that these blocking tactics don’t become the new normal for resource projects,” he said.
Mr Roche welcomed comments today by Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham that the state government was examining ways to speed up the approvals and Land Court process. But he said six months was sufficient time for legal challenges as the game had ‘well and truly changed.