Qld Premier hails coal industry's record year

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has praised the contribution of the state’s coal industry to its economy and affirmed that it would remain the “backbone” of the state in the future despite environmental protests about major development proposals.
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Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (Source: Annastacia Palaszczuk)

Lou Caruana

Adani’s $10.5 million Carmichael coal project slated for the Galilee Basin has been delayed by legal challenges and the expansion of the Abbot Point port facility has been the focus of protests over the effect it would have on the Great Barrier Reef.

“I am extremely optimistic about the outlook for Queensland's resources sector, because just like our broader economy, the resources sector is continuing to diversify,” Palaszczuk told the annual Queensland Resources Council luncheon.

“There is little awareness outside the sector that metallurgical coal makes up over two thirds of Queensland's coal exports by both value and volume - coal mostly used for steel production.

“Whatever change may be ahead in the global energy mix, demand for steel will remain extremely strong for the future.

“And despite recent falls in prices, exports of thermal coal are continuing to rise and volumes are forecast to continue rising.

“In total, coal export volumes from Queensland reached a new record last financial year at over 219 million tonnes.”

QRC CEO Michael Roche told the event that every Queenslander should have a vested interest in seeing the state’s minerals and energy industries succeed and grow because it continued to provide one in five dollars of the state economy and one in six jobs.

He said demand for Queensland resources would continue to grow, with Asia forecast to be a major importer of coal and gas especially.

He challenged the notion that industry’s social licence to operate is precarious.

Research conducted in 14 south east Queensland marginal seats – seats like Yeerongpilly, Stafford, Mount Coot-tha and Burleigh – showed that 72% of respondents in those seats support the resources sector and only 18% said they oppose the sector.

Palaszczuk was unbowed in the face of criticism by environmentalists stating the government would “balance” Queensland’s economy with the environment.

“We will get the balance right,” she said.

“We can protect the Great Barrier Reef while we foster development that creates jobs.”

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