Queensland coal exports are yet to feel the full force of the repeated threat by monopoly rail operator Aurizon to stop the movement of up to 20 million tonnes annually from mine to port.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said it was unsurprising that coal exports were higher this year compared to 2017 due to stronger global demand and the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie that crossed the coast in March last year.
“Aurizon’s threat – repeated to investors last week – will have a bigger impact on coal exports than Tropical Cyclone Debbie and it will be spread over the year, not just the wet season,” he said.
“Our trading partners, particularly Japan, are watching Aurizon’s actions closely. Coal is our top export commodity with overseas sales more than $30 billion annually.
“Aurizon continues to gloss over the facts. The coal industry is prepared to sit down with them to develop a united position to the Queensland Competition Authority. But we won’t do it with a threat hanging over our head.
“Aurizon needs to resume normal maintenance practices immediately and keep that commitment until the next QCA undertaking is finalised and implemented. They need to remove the threat. We won’t negotiate under duress.”
The loss of up to 20 million tonnes of coal will slash exports by $4 billion per annum and cut royalties used to pay for State Government services and infrastructure by a staggering $500 million per year.