Govt. kills off Mackay terminal

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) says the Queensland Government has allowed resources sector policy to be hijacked by sectional interests instead of standing up for the State’s hard-won reputation for allowing the normal assessment processes to take their proper course.

The QRC’s chief executive Michael Roche said it was extremely disappointing that the Bligh government had killed off the proposal for a new coal terminal at Mackay servicing the growth in the Bowen Basin.

“One day the Government is trumpeting that the coal sector is set to double in size in Queensland, and the next it hits an additional 35 million tonnes of export port capacity on the head,” Roche said.

Roche said the decision to block the Mackay Harbour export coal project, even before it had reached the stage of an environmental impact assessment, will place additional pressure on the remaining options for new and expanded export coal terminals to deliver the much needed additional capacity.

“The QRC respects the role of government to make decisions in the public interest and we also understand that governments have to listen to the concerns of local communities,” he said.

“However, the Government also has a duty to allow due process to take place and I’m puzzled at the government’s lack of confidence in its own world-class environmental assessment processes.

“This is the second project in 10 days the first being the McFarlane oil shale project denied due process by this government.”

According to Roche, unpredictable behaviour increases sovereign risk in the eyes of investors, and could result in them taking their money and projects elsewhere.

“While I realise a state election may well be imminent, I nevertheless urge the government to have courage and get its eye back on the ball with regard to decisions that impinge on the future wealth of the state,” Roche said.

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