QLD needs resources sector ‘more than ever’ as COVID-19 strikes

The Queensland Government has called on the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) to maximise the resource sector’s role in post-coronavirus recovery.

This comes as the industry mourns the loss of a 30-year-old Blackwater miner who passed away from coronavirus this week – Australia’s youngest fatal case to date.

While the name of the mine has not been confirmed, Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk addressed the media yesterday, stating that the coroner was investigating the death.

“The man was showing symptoms prior to his death but also had other illnesses,” Palaszczuk said.

“He tested positive at the postmortem and his partner is now sick with symptoms and has been transferred to the Rockhampton hospital where she is being isolated.

“Blackwater has never had a case of COVID before and contract tracing is extensively underway and the police and ambulance officers who attended the scene are also now in quarantine.

“I want to say to the family of the deceased person we extend our deepest condolences to your family and friends.”

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said despite the sector needing to adapt to COVID-19, it was the peak representative for the state’s coal metal, oil and gas producers, suppliers and explorers and it was well-placed to do so.

“We have already been in talks with the government about the recovery and I look forward to joining the Premier on the alliance today,” Macfarlane said.

“We have worked within the restrictions on worker movement to slow the spread and keep as many of the 372,000 Queenslanders who rely on us for their work and pay on the job.

“Already we have secured some interim relief for exploration companies that are key to the new coal, metal, gas and oil discoveries. We have finalised an agreement to inject a jointly funded $100 million into resource companies.”

Key areas of the collaboration include a streamlined approval process from both state and federal governments for new projects.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the resources sector was injecting more than $200 million into Queensland’s economy daily.

“The world needs (the resources sector) more than what we ever have,” Macfarlane said.

“The federal government approval of the Olive Downs coal mine in central Queensland is welcomed, it already had its Queensland Government approvals (and) as much as we can, we need to see these separate approval processes come together.”

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