QLD declares regulated monopolies over coal infrastructure

Image credit: Bruce Peebles. Copyright the state of Queensland.

Queensland has provided the coal industry with regulatory certainty over rail and port infrastructure that is critical to the sector.

Queensland treasurer Cameron Dick declared the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN) and Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) as regulated monopolies until 2040 and 2030 respectively.

The CQCN is a 2670-kilometre multi-user track network that comprises four major coal systems, serving the Bowen Basin coal region and connecting more than 50 mines to five major export ports and domestic consumers.

DBCT is one of two coal export terminals at one of the world’s largest coal export ports, the Port of Hay Point, which handles coal from more than 30 Bowen Basin mines, the source of more than 80 per cent of Queensland’s coal.

This decision was praised by Ian Macfarlane, chief executive of Queensland Resources Council, which raised the issue with the state government in 2017.

Macfarlane said the decision meant critical pieces of economic infrastructure would be under the independent regulatory oversight by the Queensland Competition Authority.

This will set the conditions on access and pricing of regulated monopoly businesses.

“This is not a small technical point,” Macfarlane said. “It gives our coal industry, which delivers $1 billion to the Queensland economy every week and employs 11 per cent of Queenslanders greater regulatory certainty.

“With that greater regulatory certainty, industry can invest and employ more with confidence. This is good news for Queensland and great news for Queensland jobs at a time when we need them.”

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