Demand up, but Qld Govt policies stifle resources investment plans

  • Posted 21 March, 2024
  • Media Releases

21 March 2024

A new report shows Queensland’s resources sector has enormous potential to create new jobs and drive future economic growth across the state on the back of the global transition to low-emission technologies, but uncompetitive government policies and regulatory uncertainty are holding investment back.

Two-thirds of member CEOs surveyed for a Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) report for the December 2023 quarter believe demand for their commodities, including coal, will increase over the next three years.

The QRC’s latest State of the Sector report confirms steelmaking coal, gas and thermal coal will continue to be Queensland’s biggest export commodities, with copper, silver, lead, zinc, gold, aluminium and bauxite all showing potential for future growth.

However the report revealed Queensland’s slow-moving regulatory environment and the impact of uncompetitive government policies, such as the introduction of the world’s highest coal royalty tax rates in mid-2022, is stifling future growth and employment plans.

QRC Chief Executive Officer Janette Hewson said the number of mining and energy companies planning to expand their Queensland operations over the next 12 months has halved compared to the same time last year, falling from 35 per cent to 17 per cent.

“Our report also shows the number of resources CEOs who expect to increase their workforce over the next 12 months has dropped from 40 per cent at the beginning of 2023 to 28 per cent this year which is not good news for Queensland,” Ms Hewson said.

“The resources sector and State Government need to work together more closely to ensure Queensland can continue to attract long-term investment in new mining and energy projects, which offer decades of well-paid jobs and stimulate economic activity throughout the state.

“Our sector can supply the raw materials needed to make the steel, batteries and low-emission technologies required for the global energy transition, but companies want to invest in jurisdictions which offer a stable and internationally competitive policy environment.

“Right now, companies are telling us that isn’t Queensland, so we have some work to do to restore our reputation as a secure, long-term investment destination for resources projects.”

Ms Hewson said a bright note out of the report was that 72 per cent of resources companies expect to buy more products and services from local and Indigenous businesses over the next 12 months, adding to the industry’s already significant contribution to regional jobs and economies.

The quarterly report found the industry’s number one concern is policy uncertainty, followed by rising costs and an ongoing skilled worker shortage.

Nearly 90 per cent of the resources CEOs surveyed also believe the Queensland Government should do more to stand up for the industry against misinformation campaigns.

Mining and energy companies contributed almost $117 billion to the Queensland economy last financial year and supported the jobs of more than 530,000 people directly or indirectly.

Media Contact: Matt Dunstan – [email protected]