Queensland’s resources sector has come out fighting in response to State Government plans to impose higher coal royalty taxes on the industry.
Ian Macfarlane said it was disingenuous for Treasurer Cameron Dick to frame the tax increase as necessary to support the health budget.
“The resources sector is already paying more than double the coal royalty taxes it paid last year due to higher commodity prices, so every Queenslander benefits when our sector is doing well,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Queensland’s royalty taxes are already the highest in Australia. They’re almost double what NSW producers pay and are one of the highest amongst coal exporting countries.”
Mr Macfarlane said the coal royalty taxes paid by the industry this financial year are expected to reach more than $6 billion – at least $2 billion more than predicted by Treasury – which is a record and the highest amount of royalties ever paid to a Queensland Government.
“As commodity prices have risen in value, so too have the dollars collected by the Queensland Government from the resources sector through royalty tax, which benefits all Queenslanders,” he said.
“Our industry supports the jobs of more than 420,000 people and thousands of businesses involved with our supply chain, and is investing millions of dollars into new technologies to lower emissions and reduce our impact on the environment, but apparently this still isn’t enough for the State Government.
“Imposing higher taxes on our sector is a short-term, political decision to plug a hole in the state budget that will inflict an immediate, negative impact on foreign investment and confidence in our industry, and will have long-term consequences for regional jobs and businesses.
“I can’t imagine people and business operators in the regions are going to be too happy about that, particularly as regional communities are already the poor cousins when it comes to receiving government funding for roads, health and education spending.”
Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector had done the right thing all the way through the pandemic by going to extraordinary lengths to maintain full production and employment and support the state economy, while absorbing a huge amount of Covid-related costs along the way.
“The imposition of higher royalty taxes on the resources sector right now is poor economic policy and a bitter pill to swallow at a time producers are finally looking at a sustained period of growth and investment, which was set to benefit generations of Queenslanders,” he said.
“Resources companies are more than prepared to contribute substantially to the Queensland community. Last financial year, our sector contributed a total of $84.3 billion to the state economy, which set a new record.
“We pay our employees very well, which is why they earn the highest, average annual income out of any sector in Australia, and we contribute to the communities in which we operate all over Queensland in so many different ways.
“There’s been a lot of talk from state government ministers about Queensland being well positioned to be the new energy superpower of the world, but decisions like this will scare away investors and show just how shallow that talk is.”