Queensland’s resources sector is forecast to pump an unprecedented $3.64 billion into state government coffers in 2008-09, according to data released in the state budget.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the sector’s record financial contribution to taxpayers was one of the few highlights in a budget pre-empted by a new ‘super tax’ on coal and laden today with additional costs on industry.
“Royalties paid to the people of Queensland by minerals and energy companies are now the single biggest source of state-based revenue, outperforming stamp duty and payroll tax,” Roche said.
Coal royalties are forecast to grow from $1.03 billion this financial year to $3.2 billion in 2008-09, trebling taxpayer returns from the industry. Other minerals and energy sector royalties are forecast to return $383 million.
“The magnitude of these figures and the government’s own preparations for a doubling of coal exports by 2015 throws into sharp focus the motives behind yesterday’s sudden and unjustifiable increase in coal royalties,” he said.
According to Roche, the budget’s transfer to industry of funding for the Department of Mines and Energy’s Mines Inspectorate effectively imposed a new annual $800 per employee safety and health tax on mining companies.
“Queensland’s highly regarded tripartite approach to mining safety and health, involving companies, the unions and government, owes much to the reputation of a truly independent Mines Inspectorate, funded by taxpayers.
“With funding transferred to industry, we risk spending more time analysing every aspect of the inspectorate’s daily operations rather than looking to the real aim of zero-harm,” Roche said.
Queensland Resources Council
07 3295 9560