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Resources – funding the Budget’s ‘Jobs bonanza’!

Statement from the Queensland Resources Council

Today’s budget papers illustrate the vital importance of resources, especially coal, to keep the state in the black. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced it as the ‘jobs bonanza budget’, which would have been impossible without royalty revenue.

And with a paper-thin surplus of $146 million in 2016-17, it is difficult to ignore the fact that coal royalties surged by 97 per cent or an extra $1.897 billion this year. That’s the entire budget surplus thirteen times over.

The Treasurer’s budget speech says: “The boost from coal royalties has improved the Budget position in 2016-17. We have acted to allocate it to job generating projects, further retirement of debt and to support downward pressure on electricity prices for Queensland business and households.” (page 3)

It’s great news for regional Queensland that the dividend from the royalties that may have come from their own regions is being invested back into creating regional jobs.

Since last year’s budget, the forward estimates of royalty revenue has increased by $3.7 billion with total royalty revenue in this year 80 per cent higher than last year.

Green activists may keep talking about the end of mining, however Tropical Cyclone Debbie gave Queensland a brief taste of their extremist green reality.

The budget reports that a disruption of coal exports that lasted for a little over a month was a major contributor to the three quarters of a percentage drop in Queensland’s growth rate for the whole year. So while the activists can huff and puff, it’s clear that mining will be resourcing Queensland’s future for the foreseeable future.

In addition to keeping the Queensland in the black, some of the other ‘high-vis’ highlights from this budget for the Queensland Resources Council include:

  • The release of the North West Minerals Province Strategic Blueprint with $39 million in new funding over four years to support the continuing resource development and value adding in the region. This funding will keep the exploration conveyor belt moving in one of the world’s richest metals province.
  • A channel upgrade for the Port of Townville features $75 million to ensure the Port can continue to operate efficiently as an essential logistics, defense and tourism hub for North Queensland as well as preparing it to service the next wave of discoveries from the North West.
  • A massive investment in reducing the price of electricity for the next three years by directly paying the three quarters of a billion dollars ($770 million) in subsides from the solar bonus scheme.
  • $100 million to investigate hydroelectric generation on the Burdekin Falls Dam. The state desperately needs new forms of renewable energy which are not intermittent where production is not correlated with our existing renewable fleet of mainly solar generation.
  • An investment of $3.7 m in the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme.

QRC would have liked to see a clear commitment to funding the Geological Survey of Queensland. We note that Tourism and Events Queensland gets a funding guarantee of $100 million pa renewed and suggest that funding for pre-competitive geology should be similarly secured.

The QRC is disappointed the funding for gas pipelines for Bowen & Surat Basins hasn’t yet secured Commonwealth funding, and we look forward to the next release of the annual exploration program.

Geoff Dickie, Chair of the Queensland Exploration Council, said the “government’s support for the North West Minerals Province is commendable. The $20 million allocated through the Strategic Resources Exploration Program is a welcome initiative that will drive exploration and new discoveries in the North West.”

“GSQ should be allocated special funds for regional exploration incentive initiatives that apply more broadly across Queensland.”

Source: QRC

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