QRC slams anti-coal conspirator

THE Queensland Resources Council has called for the The Australia Institute to reveal its secret funders following the self-touted think tank’s recent report which downplayed the economic significance of the coal industry to the sunshine state.
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Shiploader landing at Abbot Point.

Blair Price

“Instead of pointing fingers at the resources industry, TAI should declare its bias by revealing its funding sources and its role in the anti-coal movement,” QRC CEO Michael Roche said.

“The Australia Institute is receiving funding from anti-mining activists to ‘change the story’ of coal, regardless of the facts.

“So almost every month another report is churned out, critical of the coal industry, the gas industry or mining generally, and always oblivious to reality.”

Roche pointed out that TAI was one of the groups linked to a Greenpeace and foreign donor-backed strategy document based on hurting Australia’s coal industry “by some hundreds of millions of tonnes per annum”.

Another one of the groups linked to this anti-coal alliance, 350.org, was behind the Pacific Climate Warriors protest to blockade Newcastle’s port yesterday.

“There is a very well-funded, well-coordinated campaign being run by the anti-mining activists who want to shut down the coal and gas export industries in Australia and The Australia Institute’s executive director Richard Denniss is in the thick of that campaign, being a co-author of their strategy document Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom,” Roche said.

One of the key points of the TAI’s recent report, titled The mouse that roars: coal in the Queensland economy, was that the coal industry made modest contributions to the state’s budget while having negative impacts on other industries such as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.

“According to budget papers, of the $2.3 billion paid to the state in resource royalties in 2013-14, coal was responsible for more than $1.8 billion,” QRC said in response.

“Resource royalties is the third largest own source revenue item in the Queensland budget, after payroll tax and transfer duty.

“Our members employ 43,000 direct employees, and coal companies make up 66% of those numbers – or the equivalent of nearly 30,000 jobs – and that does not take into account the contractors who are employed by the coal sector.”

TAI, which said QRC “regularly commissions economic reports that present an exaggerated impression of the size of their industry”, also criticised the “input-output” models used for the QRC’s indirect job creation estimates.

“TAI also challenges the modelling of the QRC’s data, however it was peer reviewed and endorsed by the Central Queensland University in 2009-10 and the methodology has not deviated since then,” Roche said.

“If TAI has a problem with the modelling of QRC data then they need to take that concern up with the Reserve Bank of Australia which used the same modelling approach in a research discussion paper published in 2013.”

Roche said that resources sector companies spent almost $A38 billion in Queensland on wages, goods and services and communities.

“That direct spending injection is calculated by expert economic modelling firm Lawrence Consulting to have generated total spending of $76 billion – one quarter of the state’s economy,” he said.

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