Editorial: Queensland mining at risk from law to rein in Clive Palmer (The Courier Mail – May 16, 2016)


LIKE all jurisdictions, Queensland needs to take particular care to keep itself competitive when attracting development and jobs.

According to resource sector leaders, major national and international companies are becoming increasingly reluctant to go ahead with investments in Queensland because of the high fixed regulatory costs they face in this state. And the release of this finding yesterday came amid worrying claims from resource sector chiefs that some unintended consequences have occurred from the recent green laws used to make failed developer Clive Palmer operate properly.

After Mr Palmer’s ill-fated Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville shut its doors and caused hundreds of workers to lose their livelihoods, the company was properly caught by regulations aimed at making resource companies live up to their environmental responsibilities and make sure the operation did not fall short of what is required for a clean and healthy industrial site.

No one wants to see Mr Palmer avoid his obligations – especially when he exhibits such a cavalier attitude to everything else he has done in regard to the Queensland Nickel business.

That he left behind a mess which will cost $100 million to clean up is not surprising. The great pity is that because he has walked away, it is the taxpayer who is picking up this tab, just as the public purse is the source of the tens of millions of dollars needed for the entitlements to the workers Mr Palmer left on the scrapheap.

However, as the Queensland Resources Council’s Michael Roche points out, this is a piece of legislation designed to keep one businessman – Mr Palmer – in line but has now become a legislative Frankenstein’s monster “sweeping up many businesses into its scope and creating huge investor uncertainty”. This unintended consequence is unacceptable.

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