Speaking at the Bowen Basin Coal Conference in Mackay, Roche has taken note of the recent Chinese action to counter falling growth in the current turbulent economic times.
“Overnight, the Chinese government announced it would spend almost $800 billion to stimulate its domestic economy, with a strong focus on infrastructure development,’ Roche said yesterday.
“It is positive news for a range of Australian commodity exporters and a clear signal that China has no intention of winding back its long-term economic growth.
“Accordingly, Australia and Queensland should be reinvesting some of their resource sector tax and royalty windfalls of recent years into regions such as the Bowen Basin to move the country ahead of this fundamental shift in global economic power.”
Roche added the current slowdown was an opportunity to start preparing for the next surge in growth from Asia.
“No one in the Bowen Basin is talking about industry going into hibernation because of recessionary pressures facing the USA and Europe,” he said.
He said governments could play a key role by dispelling misconceptions that a minerals boom must be followed by a bust.
“Sadly, I keep hearing from some politicians and commentators that Queensland has moved beyond its so-called ‘rocks and crops’ reliance,” Roche said.
“However, the contribution of the resources sector to the state economy is not just substantial but fundamental.
“Using economic multipliers published by the state government, the resources sector is responsible directly and indirectly for more than 28 per cent of the state’s employment and pays more than 31 per cent of its wages and salaries.”
The Bowen Basin is home to the bulk of Queensland’s coal mines.