The future of Queensland’s economy is dependent on the sale of key assets, such as the Abbots Point coal terminal in the Bowen Basin, Premier Anna Bligh told Parliament.
The Abbots Point terminal is part of Waratah Coal’s massive plan to develop 4.3 billion tonnes of thermal coal at the Galilee site in Central Queensland.
Under the planned development, the terminal will increase from an annual capacity of 25 million tonnes to 50 million.
But according to Bligh, with a private sale the port could increase to even greater capacities.
“Abbot Point’s long term plan… to export between 80 and 100 million tonnes a year can only be achieved with significant new investment of funds,” she said.
“Those funds in my view are best sourced from the private sector.
“The private sector is in a good position to invest in the infrastructure needed to export coal.”
Bligh said despite a drop in current demand, the coal industry’s future is still strong and will continue to play a major role in Queensland’s economic future.
“While the coal companies are enduring a drop in demand from world markets, their medium to long term forecasts for volume have not changed,” she said.
Developing an important part of the coal supply chain such as Abbots Point will benefit both the State and the country, Bligh said.
“It will grow local jobs. More importantly, it will grow prosperity for the whole region and indeed the whole country.”
The announcement of planned asset sales covering the coal supply chain has been welcomed by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
But according to QRC chief executive Michael Roche, a consultation process with the resources industry is vital to its success.
“Close consultation with the resources sector, the major customers, is essential,” he said.
Roche warned the Government must learn from its past asset sale mistakes.
“The government must avoid the failed experiment of excluding industry from participating in the sale of Government-owned export infrastructure, as occurred with the sale of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal,” he said.