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Canberra’s coal comfort should be a AUS$1 billion Maroon fund for Queenslanders

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) wants the upcoming federal government’s budget and the opposition’s budget reply to commit to reinvesting back into Queensland the extra US$1 billion in company tax that will flow into Canberra due to higher metallurgical coal prices.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said based on federal treasury’s calculations, the higher than projected metallurgical coal price would provide an extra AUS$1.2 billion for the balance of this financial year and next financial year (2019-20).

Mr Macfarlane said he urged prime minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten to ensure they committed the extra US$1 billion to a Maroon fund.

“Queensland produces the lion’s share of Australia’s metallurgical coal. Queenslanders deserve this billion dollar unbudgeted windfall reinvested back into their state, where the coal was produced and exported from,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“For every Queenslander, that extra AUS$1 billion counts. Indeed, that extra revenue is the equivalent of AUS$200 for every man, woman and child living in Queensland.”

Prior to Christmas last year, federal treasury projected that:

“If the metallurgical coal price remained elevated for two quarters longer than currently assumed, before falling immediately to AUS$120 pt FOB, nominal GDP could be around AUS$2.5 billion higher than forecast in 2018/19 and AUS$3.5 billion higher in 2019-20. This would have a flow on impact to company tax receipts estimated at around AUS$0.2 billion in 2018-19 and AUS$1.0 billion in 2019/20.”

The average metallurgical coal price this year has been AUS$204 pt.

“I am urging community groups, charities, local councils and other industries to nominate their project and cause for the Maroon Fund,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“The continuing drought and recent flooding rains have demonstrated the steely resolve of Queenslanders, but it has created a lot of need. That should be a priority for the Maroon fund.”

“So should important services such as health and education to support the work in our hospitals and in our classrooms.”

Mr Macfarlane said QRC would forward all Maroon fund funding requests received by budget day on 2 April to both Mr Morrison and Mr Shorten.

“QRC will have no role in their selection, but we will ensure both leaders have these funding requests. I’m sure Queenslanders will be interested before the upcoming Federal election to know where the AUS$1 billion goes,” he said.

“Perhaps the Palaszczuk Government will fill out a form. This AUS$1 billion would be on top of the more than AUS$5 billion the Queensland government collects from royalty taxes from the resources sector this financial year.”

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