Thousands of jobs at risk: Industry group demands action
THOUSANDS of future jobs are at risk because of the flip-flopping Labor Government's stance on how to access the Galilee Basin's riches, and the powerful resource industry lobby wants something done about it.
Taking advantage of the Queensland election race to pressure the pollies, resource industry groups have banded together to push for cross-party agreement that would secure the jobs, and millions in state royalties.
Industry wants all levels of government to find a path forward to build a railway line from Moranbah to the untapped resources of the Galilee Basin, west of Mackay - because without it the nine proposed mines in the basin won't go ahead.
It comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced she would veto Adani's Federally-funded loan to build the railway.
Now Adani is looking for other backers to build its standard-gauge line and there are also proposals to get it started by Aurizon and Gina Rinehart's joint venture with GVK Group.
But the Resource Industry Network, Queensland Resource Council and the mayor of the region the mines would be in, don't care who funds it so long as it gets done.
Queensland Resource Council chief executive officer Ian MacFarlane said whenever government "flips and flops" on policies it created uncertainty. "In terms of the government saying one thing one day and another thing the next day, the resources industry start to question whether to invest or not," he said.
Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke said without certainty from governments, the other railway projects could fall over as mining companies lost confidence in investing in Queensland.
"Without this critical infrastructure, the Galilee Basin opportunities will be lost to the region and regional Queenslanders will miss out on jobs, investment and growth," Mrs Rourke said.
"The resource sector is the foundation of Queensland's strong economy and it makes absolute sense to secure the future of the sector with this catalytic infrastructure."
Currently, there are nine coal mines proposed for the 247,000sqkm basin, which at full capacity would double Australia's coal exports to more than 600million tonnes a year. The majority of the Carmichael Mine project sits within Isaac Regional Council and the mayor of that region, Anne Baker, said the focus shouldn't be on Adani but a holistic approach to open up the basin. "(The conversation) should be about opening of the basin itself for sustainable development of local and regional jobs and for local and regional businesses," she said.
Premier Palaszczuk maintained businesses could "absolutely" remain confident about investing in Queensland.
"...The banks keep coming through my door, major companies keep coming through my door," she said.
"Every time I go on a trade mission and take businesses on trade missions with me, we come back with more interest in what Queensland produces."