Beattie, coal companies to meet

AFTER Queensland Premier Peter Beattie last week attacked coal companies for not contributing to clean coal investment, and coal companies hit back with the promise of $1 billion in funding, the two opposing parties have agreed to meet this Thursday.
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Queensland Premier Peter Beattie

Angie Tomlinson

Beattie said he understood during the meeting that companies would put a proposal to government, a proposal Beattie said must be tangible, the Brisbane Times reported.

The premier brought the issue to a head last week when visiting the US, announcing he was contemplating raising coal royalties to force the coal industry to pay for clean coal research.

He said coal companies had reneged on an agreement to provide $A300 million over five years in voluntary funding towards research.

Yesterday the Australian coal mining industry announced it would invest $1 billion in clean coal technology over the next decade.

The research and development funding will come from an extension of the $300 million COAL21 Fund adopted last year, which imposes a voluntary coal levy on black coal producers.

Australian Coal Association executive director Mark O'Neill dismissed claims that the billion-dollar commitment had been made to avoid a hike in mining royalties, saying it instead reflected the industry's growing confidence in the role clean coal technology can play in reducing emissions, and growing community concern over climate change.