Coal proves decisive factor in Coalition election win

The Australian minerals industry believes it will benefit from the re-election of the Coalition Government through reduced taxes and increased investment in the sector.

Labor’s staunch opposition to the coal industry was a key contributor to the election result, according to chief executive officer of the Coal Council of Australia, Greg Evans.

“Anti-coal policies concerning Adani, the suggestion of ‘transitioning’ of coal workers elsewhere and resisting coal-fired power generation have damaged the Labor Party, and as they reset their policy platform, they need to reverse their anti-coal positions,” he said.

“Suggestions that coal workers are second class citizens has rightly been viewed as insulting.”

Evans instead praised the Coalition’s support of coal, claiming it was a key factor in its victory.

“Resources Minister Matt Canavan has been an active and very effective supporter of the coal sector and his advocacy has engendered trust throughout the coal regions,” he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a number of commitments which will “deliver further growth and expansion of Australia’s resources sector”, according to the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

It includes pledging $30 million for the Central Queensland University School of Mines and Manufacturing in the Gladstone and Rockhampton regions, alongside an investment of $3.4 million over four years, to encourage more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The government has also promised to continue development of the critical minerals strategy to promote investment and give priority status for funding applications as part of the $20 million round seven stage of the cooperative research centres project.

It has also renewed its commitment of $100 million to produce new pre-competitive geoscience data through Geoscience Australia’s ‘exploring for the future’ program.

This coincides with $100 million to assist with greenfield exploration as part of the junior mineral’s exploration and a further $100 million to support the development of hydrogen technologies.

The Coalition’s victory has also provided a clear mandate for resources projects that have lawful approvals to proceed, including the Adani coal mine in central Queensland and the Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia.

MCA praised the commitment Morrison made to the resources sector with chief executive officer Tania Constable saying it will “work in partnership with the Cabinet to deliver a strong economy.”

“This is a win for regional jobs, particularly in the big resources states of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia,” she said

“[It] will promote our national brand, boost cooperation with the states on the development of new resource basins, upgrading and enhancement of skills and investment in advanced seismic and aero-magnetic surveys to discover the critical minerals we will need for Australia’s future.”

The Australian Resources and Energy Group (AMMA) also welcomed the Coalition’s victory, taking aim at the Labor Party for its “divisive class warfare rhetoric”.

“AMMA is delighted the Australian people have voted for aspiration, not the Australian Labor Party/Australian Council of Trade Unions’ phony industrial relations policies aimed at pitting workers against employers,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.

AMMA furthered its encouragement of the government to pursue improvements to the workplace relations system.

“This should start with lifting governance standards and accountability for all employer and union organisations registered under the Fair Work Act, through the passage of the Ensuring Integrity Bill that passed the lower house in the last parliament,” Knott said.

The Australian resources sector, which generates more export revenue than all industries combined, generated $12 billion in royalties for state governments in 2017-2018.

Recognising its record earnings, AMMA urged the government “to continue growing our industry’s record earnings, the 46th Parliament must prioritise competitive and productivity-unlocking workplace regulation and skills development.”

Both industry bodies expressed their optimism about working with the Coalition, with AMMA focusing on its shared “vision for productive and competitive workplace relations, unleashed through a flexible and future-focused system, safeguarding the industry’s competitiveness in the future global economy.”

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