Brian Courtice.
Brian Courtice. Brian Cassidy

Former Labor MP attacks party over coal strategy

THE furore in recent days puts Queensland coal front and centre in the national debate.

Coal is not a single issue.

It can be categorised into three components.

Firstly the use of thermal coal to generate electricity in Australia, the export of coal and the opening of new coal mines to supply the demand of an increasing number of coal-fired power stations proposed.

The most controversial new coal mine is the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin by Adani.

The reason Adani should not proceed with their present application is that they want to have unlimited use of Queensland's underground water to wash the coal.

The aquifer is precious to rural Queensland and should not be wasted washing coal at any approved mine in the Galilee basin.

The solution is not rocket science, coal should be mined, railed to port, and at a close proximity to the ocean with ponds, washed with sea water.

This would conserve our precious underground water and allow the opening up of several mines.

The rail infrastructure should be built by the Queensland Government and rail freight charges would pay for the line.

All rail rolling stock should also be Government owned, employ Queensland workers with decent wages.

The use of coal to generate electricity in Australia will continue for decades and require new coal-fired power stations to be built.

The only way this will not occur is if Australia switches to nuclear power generation.

Neither solar nor wind can provide reliable base load electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week continuously.

Solar panels on roofs will be in the local dumps after 20 years of use as this is the life at present of these panels.

Solar is also obviously unavailable at night and is currently only a top up for house holders, not a viable base load power source.

With Australia's population increasing, future demand for domestic coal use will increase.

Thirdly, the export of coal will continue to grow as future demand grows.

In the 2017-18 financial year the resources industry's direct contribution to Queensland's economy was $62.9 billion.

This sector contributes one-fifth of the total state's economy, and one in every 8 jobs - 69 per cent of the resource sectors economic contribution comes from coal. The coal industry contributes directly $3 billion in wages and 36,701 full time jobs; $13.1 billion is spent on goods and services purchased locally.

Some 6098 local businesses, as well as 565 community organisations, benefit from the economic impact of coal.

Royalties account for $3.8 billion shared across Queensland, and coal only uses 1 per cent of state's land mass.

The total contribution of coal to the Queensland economy in 2017-18 financial year was $43.4 billion, which is 13% of Queensland total gross regional product

The flow-on effects include 178,955 additional full time jobs, approximately nine per cent of Queensland's total employment, plus an additional value add of $23.5b.

The International Energy Agency has announced that 202 coal-fired power stations are currently under construction in Japan, China, India and Indonesia.

Australia is a world leader in emissions limiting technology in coal-fired power generation and new power stations are significantly better than 1970s technology.

It is quite evident that demand for Queensland coal will increase, creating more jobs and prosperity for our state.

The Galilee Basin should be opened up for coal mining, provided our precious underground water is not wasted.

The comments by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad that coal mine workers should start to re-skill now as the industry is in decline demonstrates the obsessive zeal the Left and the Greens embrace in refusing to accept reality and economic responsibility.

If any Queensland workers need to re-skill, perhaps it's the Deputy Premier.

She could resign from parliament, go to TAFE to study hospitality, then find a job in a West End coffee shop serving latte to her fellow travellers pontificating on the Queensland coal industry.

  • Brian Courtice was the Member for Hinkler from 1987-1993.

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