​Miners call on QLD to not raise royalties ahead of election

The Queensland Resources Council has called on Queensland’s political parties to avoid raising royalties as the state heads to an election.

“It’s vitally important for the state’s economic future that the next Queensland Government takes a proactive approach to partnering with the industries generating one in every four dollars and one in every five jobs across the state,” QRC head Michael Roche said only weeks ahead of the state’s snap election on January 31.

“Given the importance of resources to employment in Brisbane and regional centres – and the billions in royalty payments paid to support government services – ensuring that our industries stay globally competitive is top of mind with QRC members.”

Instead he is hoping the elected government looks to Western Australia’s actions, after Barnett’s government decided to defer royalties for junior miners, even providing a 50 per cent rebate on iron ore royalties for up to 12 months to smaller mining businesses suffering from low commodity prices.

Federal minister for resources, Ian MacFarlane, has also called on states to follow WA’s lead in reducing royalties, urging them to consider changing royalty schemes.

“If states want to see their gas and oil companies continue to explore, then they may have to incentivise that and they best way to do that is to reduce royalties,” Macfarlane said according to the Australian Financial Review

Both of QLD's major parties have raised mining royalty rates during their stints in power, with former premier Anna Bligh’s Labor party lifting rates, which Roche labelled at the time as “the highest coal royalties in Australia”, and Newman’s newly elected government swiftly raising them in September 2012 from 10 to 12.5 per cent for coal sold between $100 and $150 per tonne, although it ruled out additional increases the following year.

Since the initial rises however, Newman’s LNP has worked closely with the industry, cutting red and green tape and streamlining applications processes, as well as outlining a new framework for oil and gas in QLD as part of its wider ResourcesQ initiative which is a 30 year vision for mining in the state.

However as the state heads towards the polls later this month its relationship with the mining industry may change, while the relationship with the Labor party remains uncertain.

"What we are looking for is a cast-iron guarantee of no increases in royalties across the board; that means coal, minerals, petroleum and gas," Roche said, according to The Age.

Petroleum and gas is now especially significant as the state sees its first CSG exports from Curtis Island.

Uranium also hangs up in the air, after being given the greenlight to recommence in 2012, with QLD Labor understood to be looking to reinstate the ban that previously existed for three decades.

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