East still calls coal king

COAL is continuing to underpin the economic strengths of eastern Australia. It directly injected more than $26 billion into Queensland and New South Wales last financial year.
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Coal is still king out east.

Noel Dyson

Data collected across those states showed the coal sector directly spent $26.1 billion. The sector directly employed 37,732 and provided work to more than 17,180 local businesses across both states.

Coal royalties continued to beef up state coffers too, despite the tough times in the market. Queensland got $1.6 billion in royalties while NSW reaped $1.1 billion.

Coal mining companies directly injected $10.3 billion into the NSW economy by way of wages, salaries, business purchases and community contributions.

In Queensland coal companies directly pumped in $15.8 million. That was made up of $2.6 billion in wages and salaries to 20,247 full-time employees, $13.2 billion on goods and services purchases from 11,095 local businesses along with community contributions and payments to local government.

Queensland Resources Council acting chief executive Greg Lane said government had to get involved to keep the cash flowing.

“Coal is a vital pillar of the Queensland economy and if the government wants to see this strong export performance and flow of royalties continue, it must now work with industry on a plan for a more competitive and productive Queensland resources sector,” he said.

“Whether it’s a full-time job to put food on the table, support to keep local businesses afloat or royalties to employ teachers, nurses and police, every single Queensland has a stake in the coal industry.”

In NSW the $10.3 billion spend in 2014-15 included $2.3 billion in wages and salaries to 17,165 full-time employees. Another $8 billion was spent on goods and services purchases from 6085 local businesses along with community contributions and payments to local government.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said coal mining was doing it tough but the sector was still making a massive contribution to the state’s economy.

“Coal provides around 85% of NSW electricity and remains NSW’s most valuable commodity export,” he said.

“With hundreds of new technology low emission coal-fired generation units being deployed by trading partners across the region, the International Energy Agency has forecast demand for coal to increase across South East Asia and India.

“We’re already starting to see evidence of this with exports of NSW coal to India increasing by 110% in the past financial year along.

“With the right policy settings from government we can manage the industry’s short-term challenges and continue to deliver jobs, investment and economic opportunities over the long-term.”