Massive coal windfall boosts state’s coffers
COAL is set to boost the Palaszczuk Government's cash-strapped bottom line by almost $1 billion more than expected this financial year, Queensland's peak mining lobby predicts.
With just a month to go before Treasurer Jackie Trad hands down her second Budget on June 11, the Queensland Resources Council forecasts the State's thermal and metallurgical coal royalties windfall will reach a record $4.46 billion for 2018/19.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that was $940 million more than initially forecast in last year's Budget and $200 million more than Treasury's revised figures in the Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Review, handed down in December.
"Demand for Queensland coal is very strong," Mr Macfarlane said.
"Overseas demand means we are expected to once again sell more than 200 million tonnes of coal," he said.
"Prices are strong, particularly for metallurgical coal with indicator prices above US$200 per tonne."
The QRC's predicted royalty sugar hit comes as the resources industry pushes the Government to rule out a possible royalties hike as it struggles under increasing budgetary pressure following the recent summer of disasters and a collapse in the property market.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has estimated the recent summer of disasters would cost the Government at least $1.5 billion in clean-up and reconstruction costs while Ms Trad last month revealed an expected $1.32 billion stamp duty writedown over four years.
The Treasurer refused to rule out a royalties hike when quizzed by the Katter's Australian Party in parliament earlier this month amid industry speculation one could be on the cards.
She pointed to the former Newman Government as the last government to do so.
Mr Macfarlane said the QRC had already sought and received assurances from the Palaszczuk Government "that there is no plans to increase royalties".
"After all, with the Government's attack on the previous Government's decision to increase royalties, it would be totally hypocritical for the Palaszczuk Government to consider an increase," he said.
KAP state leader Robbie Katter urged the Government to spend any extra cash it is set to make from the resources industry on job-creating regional infrastructure like roads, rail and ports.