Coal super tax to be legislated, ‘protecting’ royalties

Fraser Barton |

Coal royalties revenue in Queensland is expected at $9.4 billion over five years.
Coal royalties revenue in Queensland is expected at $9.4 billion over five years.

A divisive super tax on coal profits will be enshrined in Queensland law to protect the flow of royalties, the state government says. 

Deputy Premier Cameron Dick on Thursday introduced a bill requiring legislative changes for any modifications to Queensland’s coal royalties.

The reforms were ushered in ahead of the October state election, making it harder for future governments to alter the controversial royalty hike.

“Protecting progressive coal royalties from the LNP (Liberal National Party) is the reason we brought this legislation in,” Mr Dick told reporters.

“They’ve been a non-stop critic of that…they are willing to cut these and we are going to protect them for Queenslanders.”

The LNP opposition previously backed the government’s reforms, voting in support of the measures they fund in the budget’s four-year forward estimates.

“The LNP has twice voted to support the coal royalties regime in the Queensland budget and publicly supported the regime and measures they fund across the forward years of the budget,” a spokesperson said.

“The LNP will follow its long-standing practice of considering this legislation, which is clearly another political game.

“But wouldn’t it be a lump of coal for Labor’s farcical scare campaign if the LNP does support the legislation?”

Lobby groups have taken aim at the tax which has pumped billions of dollars into the state’s economy since July 2022.

Cameron Dick
Deputy Premier Cameron Dick says about 44,000 people work in the coal industry in Queensland. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The Queensland Resources Council accused Mr Dick of playing political games and said the legislative changes only made the Sunshine State less appealing to investors.

“The legislation announced by the government sends a very negative message to the international investment community,” chief executive Janette Hewson said.

Multinational mining giant Anglo American has also recently announced it will sell its five Queensland steelmaking coal interests in the Bowen Basin.

BHP has launched a bid to take over Anglo which has announced plans to refocus on copper.

Mr Dick backed investor confidence and the Queensland coal industry.

“That confidence has seen BHP reverse a two-decade policy to now seek new growth in Queensland through the prized mines of Anglo American that they want to purchase,” he said.

“We’re seeing significant investment and that’s resulting in record jobs… the highest number of jobs ever in the Queensland coal industry, about 44,000 as of December last year.”

The royalties regime ensures miners pay a larger proportion of tax for any coal sold for more than $175 a tonne.

Coal royalties have supported Queensland’s post-pandemic boom with forecast revenue expected to be $9.4 billion over five years. 

The super tax will also be used to fund $1000 energy rebates for Queensland households at a cost of $2.5 billion.

AAP