Ease the squeeze

A new round of job losses in the coal industry is a is an opportunity for the next Queensland State Government to demonstrate how it will reduce the cost squeeze on resource companies, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche said.

According to Roche, the next State Government needs to take steps to ease the cost constraints on companies.

“Many resource companies are having to make tough decisions to deal with an increasingly volatile business environment,” he said.

“They need to hear from the major parties contesting the 21 March election how the next Queensland Government will play its part in easing the cost squeeze on companies.”

Roche said the parties needed to commit to a stable royalty and tax regime and the repeal what he calls ‘opportunistic’ levies such as a 2008 health and safety tax on mining.

“The next Government should also give a clear direction to its own government-owned corporations to back off on unrealistic bids for huge increases in infrastructure tariffs,” he said.

“Industry is simply not in a position to keep paying and paying.”

Roche believes a State Government should see that rising costs and falling commodity prices have combined to cause major damage to the coal industry and its capacity to employ large numbers of people.

“The major parties need to understand that this goose is done,” he said.

“Resource companies and the people they are struggling to keep in jobs need to know if the government blow-torch is ever going to be turned down.”

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