Revelations in a Queensland Resources Council report that a third of all Queensland coal mines are running at a loss highlights the urgent need for diversification of the Queensland economy to better support agriculture and renewable energy, according to the Lock the Gate Alliance.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Drew Hutton said it was absurd that the industry in now crying poor after coming off the greatest boom in recent history during which they made billions.
“The industry is inherently cyclical and there is no case for industry relief. The industry should have been prepared for the inevitable downturn,” he said.
“The Qld Government must resist subsidising mining and rewarding them for poorly managing their businesses. There is another approach to securing jobs that the Government should consider.
“All companies are meant to have financial provisions on their books to pay for mine rehabilitation. Having neglected investment in rehabilitation during the boom, now is the time to start drawing down on those provisions to make good on their commitments to environmental protection by investing in large scale rehabilitation. The best way to secure jobs in the sector is for companies to start drawing down on their rehabilitation deficit.
Mr Hutton said the Government should audit the industry’s rehabilitation performance and start rigorously enforcing their environmental conditions. This combined with the company’s provisions should stimulate investment in regional Queensland in mine rehabilitation.
"If the industry is serious about protecting jobs it should step up and draw down on the rehabilitation provisions which will keep people in work and start to address the massive mine rehabilitation deficit that exists in Queensland, ” he said.
“Enough is enough. The Government needs an urgent plan for how Queensland will diversify and restructure its economy towards the industries of the future, including training and support so workers can secure jobs fit for the realities of the modern economy. In the mean time companies must start investing in fixing up the mess left by large-scale, open cut mining.”