Bligh intervention ‘good news,’ Roche

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche is pleased that Premier Anna Bligh has written to the Federal Government requesting changes to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche is pleased that Premier Anna Bligh has written to the Federal Government requesting changes to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

Roche told MINING DAILY he is pleased that the Premier is urging the Federal Government to enhance the current coal industry assistance package of $750 million over five years.

“I think it is good news. In Premier Bligh you have someone who has very strong climate change credentials as well as a strong focus on job creation,” he said. “We are hoping someone with those credentials will carry a lot of weight in Canberra.

“The coal industry, on the numbers, should qualify as an emission-intensive, trade-exposed industry. On that basis, you are talking about assistance of $9 billion over ten years.

“We would hope that the Premier’s intervention might see a more realistic proposal coming forward from the Commonwealth.”

In a letter to the Assistant Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet, Bligh outlined concerns that, in its current form, the CPRS would have a severe impact on the coal industry.

“While coal should clearly be playing a part in reducing emissions and we support the inclusion of fugitive emissions in the scheme, the CPRS will significantly reduce the competiveness of coal production in Queensland,” she said.

“Some of our coal mines have extensive methane emissions and have very limited capacity to reduce emissions at the present time with current technologies.

“In such cases the CPRS will therefore impose significant additional cost but with limited scope for abatement options to be put in place to reduce emissions.

“The CPRS needs to provide specialised assistance to these mines as a transitional measure.”

The Premier was also concerned that some coal companies would be unable to pass on carbon related costs to their energy generator customers because of “restrictive long term contracts.”

“As a consequence firms would need to absorb these costs…This could reduce the capacity of these firms to develop future mines.”

According to Bligh, “Commonwealth Treasury modelling confirms that Queensland faces the greatest impacts from emissions pricing. It projects that we will experience the largest decline in GSP by 2050 relative to a ‘without’ CPRS scenario.”

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