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Qld Government urged not to miss boom boat

THE Queensland Resources Council has urged the State Government not to miss a

Angie Tomlinson
Qld Government urged not to miss boom boat

In its 2008-09 Budget submission to Premier Anna Bligh and Treasurer Andrew Fraser, the QRC has called for a sweeping overhaul of state government policies to capitalise on the "supercycle" of global demand for minerals and energy.

QRC chief executive Michael Roche said the "greatest domestic threat to a scenario of sustainable resource sector development is limited government vision".

He said the time was ripe for the Queensland Government to move beyond the role of broker, facilitator and business case assessor.

The QRC said the State Government could reduce financial pressures from debt funding of infrastructure by reducing its traditional role in areas underwritten by industry commitments such as “take or pay” contracts – a common tool in financing the construction of mining infrastructure such as rail and port facilities.

“By further questioning government-owned corporations’ investments in large-scale infrastructure projects and the provision of services that the private sector could deliver equally well or more efficiently, the Government could move to lead in areas of genuine market failure that continue to restrain the growth of Queensland," Roche said.

He said infrastructure services to minerals-rich North West Queensland would remain in limbo as long as risk aversion dominated the business philosophy of government ministers and government-owned service providers.

“If business-as-usual risk aversion continues to prevail then fine policies like the Northern Economic Triangle will remain little more than a glossy plan and the north and northwest of the state will not achieve their potential to be an economic powerhouse of the future,” Roche said.

“The Queensland Government, in conjunction with the Federal Government, industry and the private investment sector, must be prepared to shoulder more risk for leading investments in necessary infrastructure and policy implementations that establish long-term investment frameworks for private sector operations, and still secure investment returns to the state.

“No other stakeholder can effectively play this role for Queensland."

The QRC has called for the introduction of a statewide energy conservation program, as a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions; and "appropriate" resource levels for key regulatory agencies which are struggling to keep pace with the growth ambitions of resource sector companies in Queensland.

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