Queensland coal miners have resolved to band together to take ownership of Queensland Rail (QR), labelling the State Government’s privatisation plans as “in the interest of neither the coal industry nor Queensland taxpayers.”
The 14 largest coal producers in the state met in Brisbane yesterday and agreed to form a consortium to take control of QR’s coal-carrying rail infrastructure.
According to a statement from the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), the industry is particularly concerned by plans for the privatised QR National to both control the railways and operate a haulage business will stifle competition.
The mining consortium has therefore decided to bid for the railway infrastructure, but would not operate a haulage business.
“Queensland coal producers are concerned about the performance of this crucial infrastructure under the structure proposed by the Queensland Government,” QRC chief executive Michael Roche said.
“Of particular concern is that the Government’s existing proposal to float a vertically integrated coal business will severely limit investment in the new rail capacity needed for industry growth and new job creation.
“By contrast, coal producers – as owners of the coal track network – have a very strong incentive to ensure a high performing network and to make timely investment in new rail capacity to avoid export bottlenecks.”
According to Roche, the industry would be aim to deliver an alternative proposal to the State Government as early as possible and welcomed any discussions with Premier Anna Bligh.
“The coal industry is not asking the Government to abandon the public float process,” he said.
“It is simply asking for the opportunity to provide an alternative bid that will be judged side by side against the public float option.”