Calls by the Australian Greens to ban new coal mines has been labeled potentially catastrophic by free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
It says a ban would ruin plans to economically develop Northern Australia.
Director of the North Australia Project at the Institute of Public Affairs, Hugh Tobin, said that the Greens policies would devastate regional Australia.
He believes the huge potential in the region would instead result in constant underperformance if coal mines were banned
‘Preventing new coal mines from opening would be catastrophic for the Australian economy, particularly in the North.
“In New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia there are 50 coal projects due to start in the next three years alone,’ Tobin said.
‘Coal is the top export for both New South Wales and Queensland.
“It contributes $8.4 billion to the NSW economy and $20.5 billion to the Queensland economy. A few wind turbines aren’t going to replace the coal industry in terms of jobs or energy output anytime soon.
‘The Greens also want to stop the development of the coal seam gas industry.
“This industry represents a huge opportunity for many regional Australian communities which deserve the chance to benefit from this resource,’ Mr Tobin said.
Last week, Xstrata’s decision to close its copper smelter in North Queensland was labeled by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) as a warning of the fragility of the Australian resources sector global competitiveness and an indication of the impact the proposed carbon tax will have.
“Xstrata Copper has made it clear that the competiveness of their smelting and refining operations have been ‘hit for six’ by the combination of cheaper, newer Chinese plants and rising costs here in Australia, and not in anticipation of a carbon price,” QRC chief Michael Roche said
Anglo American Mining CEO Cynthia Carroll has also warned that the introduction of a carbon tax could take away $4 billion dollars of investment in mining projects from her company alone.
‘The resource boom is not assured. We need to create an environment that encourages investment,” Tobin said.
The Greens are doing everything they can to stop it. Northern Australia should be the future of this country.
‘Australians should be very wary of the Greens and their policies.
As of July 1, they will hold the balance of power in the Senate and destructive policies like the banning of new coal projects will be pushed through with no thought of the consequences for jobs or families.
‘We shouldn’t be adding more taxes and blocking future investment,” Tobin added.
“The North is underdeveloped as it is.
“The government should put in place a Special Economic Zone in Northern Australia.
“A low tax, low regulation zone would drive continued long term investment in the Australian resource industry.”