The cash-strapped government surprised the industry by announcing in its state budget it would lift the royalty rate for coal sold above $100 per tonne from 10% to 12.5% and introduce a new levy of 15% once the price hits $150/t – effectively a 50% increase.
It will rake in $1.6 billion over the next four years with the new measures.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche said the royalty hike could see Queensland “grab the dubious honour of being the highest taxing coal jurisdiction in the world”
Rio Tinto Coal Australia managing director Bill Champion said the company was “shocked, surprised and very disappointed by the size of the royalty increase that has been imposed by the Queensland government”
The previous Labor state government said it would retain the current flat petroleum royalty rate of 10% of the wellhead value for the state’s emerging LNG industry.
The Newman LNP government has as yet given no indication that it intends to change that decision.
Meanwhile, the first tranche of the Queensland government’s $495 million Royalties for the Regions program is rolling out in the budget – with $60 million available for critical infrastructure.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the funding would be available in rapidly growing resource regions where mining development was racing ahead of their ability to provide services and facilities.
“This is the first time these communities will get a dedicated share of the wealth they generate and it will increase significantly over coming years as we strengthen the state’s fiscal position,” he said.