Coal comfort: Queensland budget to benefit from surging mining royalties – by Ben Smee (The Guardian – June 8, 2018)

Windfall of $1bn shows state remains reliant on resources even amid renewables push

Surging coal prices will help to underwrite the upcoming Queensland budget. The state is expected to announce it has earned about $1bn more than initially forecast from royalties.

The windfall will help the Palaszczuk Labor government pay for infrastructure spending and handouts in next week’s budget, and will likely speed up the state’s projected return to surplus.

But it will also bring into focus the extent to which the state remains reliant on royalties from mining – one of the “pillars” of the Queensland economy – while the government also pushes forward with a transition to renewable energy sources.

Queensland has set an ambitious renewable energy target of 50% by 2030 and is taking steps towards achieving that goal, including by backing an array of large-scale clean energy projects.

At the same time it continues to offer new coal exploration licences – releasing six new areas to the market last month – and last year approved a royalties framework designed to actively encourage the development of new coal tenements in the Galilee and Surat basins.

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