A Greens’ Bill to ban thermal coal mining in the Galilee Basin would sabotage the employment prospects of thousands of Queenslanders and increase emissions, says the Minerals Council of Australia.
Chief executive officer Tania Constable said the Senate must reject the Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2018.
The Queensland Resources Council and the Queensland Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU today joined the MCA in opposing the proposed Bill.
Ms Constable said the MCA’s submission on the Bill outlined the potential of Queensland’s Galilee Basin to provide thousands of jobs to Queenslanders and support regional communities through responsible mining.
“These projects would boost small businesses throughout Central Queensland and improve public services to all Queenslanders through significant royalties,” Ms Constable said.
“Yet in another attack on the world-class Australian minerals industry, the Greens want to sabotage the employment prospects of thousands of Queenslanders and put at risk future funding of more nurses, teachers, police and other essential public services and infrastructure for the state.
“When Australia’s global competitiveness as a destination for mining investment is already under threat, this Bill would further damage Australia’s investment attractiveness and create significant sovereign risk.”
She argued that banning coal mining in the Galilee Basin would do nothing to reduce emissions, as countries seeking to rise up from energy poverty would source lower-quality coal from other suppliers.
The QRC and CFMEU said today they had made a joint submission to reject the proposed legislation.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the Bill would cost jobs and would fail to have any impact on global demand for thermal coal.
“This Bill doesn’t stack up. It would be little more than an act of self-sabotage which would cost Queenslanders their jobs for no reason and for no reduction in the global use of coal,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Queensland Greens MP Michael Berkman, speaking about the Bill in November, said it was “time to hit the climate emergency button” after new warnings that catastrophic climate change was unavoidable unless coal-fired electricity was all but eradicated.
A Climate Council of Australia report in 2015 warned that exploitation of Australia’s Galilee Basin coal deposits was incompatible with effective action on climate change.
It found that to have even a 50 per cent chance of meeting a 2°C limit on global warming, at least 62 per cent of the world’s fossil fuel (oil, gas, coal) reserves must be left in the ground, unburned.