Greens take aim at coal miners

THE Australian Greens have gone on the attack against Australian coal mining companies by claiming they do not pay for export rail and port facilities as the party prepares to take a strategic role in the Senate after the upcoming elections.
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Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown

Lou Caruana

Senator Bob Brown told the party’s election launch in Canberra yesterday that companies should have to pay for the cost of extra port and rail facilities for the coal, and reiterated the Greens’ support for a carbon tax.

"Both the big parties want to fund rail lines and port facilities in Queensland and New South Wales to hurry more coal from these big corporations – 75 per cent owned outside Australia – to hurry it to world markets, to be burnt to worsen climate change which threatens all of us.

"Here are the Greens – let them fund that themselves after we've imposed a carbon tax."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said Senator Bob Brown's claim that coal companies did not pay for export rail and port facilities confirmed “how out of its depth his party was in understanding Queensland and Australia's leading export industry”.

“Queensland's coal exporters pay for every railway line and port facility built on their behalf by government-owned and private sector infrastructure providers,” Roche said.

“Take or pay contracts along with a guaranteed rate of return are bottom line conditions for any infrastructure investments by state government service providers.

“The coal industry takes all the risks and taxpayers are rewarded through state corporation dividends paid to the Queensland government in addition to royalties, which this year are forecast to be in excess of $3 billion.”

A Nielsen poll released yesterday put support for the Greens at 12% and it is expected the Greens could gain the balance of power in the Senate in its own right at the next election.

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