Coal prices force $1B Qld write-down

DEPRESSED coal prices have combined with drought-induced declines in agricultural output and federal disaster relief money coming earlier than expected, forcing Queensland’s state government to write down nearly $1 billion in revenue for 2014-15 in yesterday’s “mini budget”.
Coal prices force $1B Qld write-down Coal prices force $1B Qld write-down Coal prices force $1B Qld write-down Coal prices force $1B Qld write-down Coal prices force $1B Qld write-down

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls

Anthony Barich

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said there had been a $971 million write-down since the June budget, blowing out the deficit to $2.84 billion for this financial year.

Queensland Resources Council acting CEO Greg Lane said that while Australia’s mining industry languished under continuing global market uncertainty, the state’s coal industry was at least comforted by the government’s decision to leave the current coal royalty regime alone.

“As the QRC has submitted to both the major parties in its 2015 election agenda, there is a pressing need for certainty at home and this could be best delivered in the shape of an iron-clad guarantee not to increase royalties for coal, minerals or gas,” Lane said yesterday.

A national tax survey also reported yesterday that minerals companies in 2012-13 paid nearly half of every dollar of profit as royalties and company tax to Australian governments.

While forecasting coal prices and exchange rates in volatile market conditions was a difficult task, Lane said Treasury's revised forecasts appeared “reasonable”.

“The coal industry is delivering some revenue upside by continuing to export record volumes and gas royalties will be boosted in the second half of 2014-15 with LNG exports from Gladstone starting as early as this month.

“The all-too-often under-rated Queensland metalliferous sector also played its part by delivering higher than budgeted royalty revenues.”

In a silver lining for the coal industry, Lane noted the budget review’s confirmation that the government was on track to deliver a fiscal surplus in 2015-16 and that would “go a long way towards restoring business and investment confidence”

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