Queensland enjoyed record coal exports of almost 216 million tonnes in 2014, according to the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
QRC analysis of port export data for the 2014 calendar year shows that Gladstone and Dalrymple Bay shared the honours exporting 69 million tonnes each, followed by Hay Point (40.8mt), Abbot Point (22.9mt), and Brisbane (8.0mt).
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said coal exports in 2014 were slightly higher than forecast and indicative of a trend that started with 168 million tonnes in 2012 and 196 million tonnes in 2013.
‘What we are seeing are Queensland coal producers replacing the high prices of a few years ago with the volumes necessary to keep their operations viable in a currently depressed market,’ Mr Roche said.
‘Queensland producers are saying to overseas customers that they are here for the long haul with the reliable supply of a range of high-quality coals.
‘Their first goal must be to outperform competitors attracted to the export market by record prices that peaked around 2009-10.
‘Hence, their constant and ongoing attention now to higher efficiency and cost reductions, which have been aided on the revenue side to some extent – but not nearly enough – by a lower Australian dollar.’
In 2013-14, Queensland coal producers spent $19 billion statewide on wages, goods and services and voluntary community contributions, which is calculated to have generated a further $20.8 billion in economic activity and employment for an additional 208,000 Queenslanders.
‘The coal industry alone is responsible for about 13 percent of the state’s economic output and 10 percent of total employment,’ Mr Roche said.
‘It also provided more than $1.9 billion of the $2.5 billion in royalties paid to the state government last financial year that went to help pay for essential services such as hospitals, schools and roads.
‘It is especially important during an election campaign that Queenslanders understand the roles and contribution of the coal industry, from keeping the lights on at home and the economy ticking over to helping developing countries house, clothe and feed their citizens.
‘It is a world-class export industry that continues to enjoy the support of both the major parties contesting the 2015 Queensland elections.
‘Predictably, the Greens’ election manifesto pledges to close down the Queensland coal industry, with no alternative strategy to replace the lost income and jobs created by the state’s leading export industry,’ Mr Roche said.