A third of Queensland’s coal mines are operating at a loss, a new report shows.
The study by Wood Mackenzie was commissioned by the Queensland Resources Council as a part of its quarterly State of the Sector report.
It has prompted calls from QRC chief executive Michael Roche for more support for the sector from all tiers of government, with royalties and council rates among the areas singled out for relief measures.
Mr Roche said the data collected by Wood Mackenzie backed up what industry leaders had been telling him over the past few months.
“While the cost curves and profitability analyses provide hard data on the state of our sector, the opinions of the industry leaders in Queensland – many of them veterans of 30 or more years – tell the story more starkly,” Mr Roche said.
“Despite production reaching its highest levels, we have lost 21,000 resource sector jobs in the past two years as a result of low commodity prices.
“We need governments – federal, state and local – to play their part in providing the sector some relief.
“We must ensure that policy and regulation supports existing operations, which last year was responsible for contributing $64.8 billion to Queensland’s economy, while providing one in every six jobs.”
He said there was also a need to ensure regulation did not strangle potential projects that would help create jobs and increase revenue to fill the void from the commodities slump.
Mr Roche said the QRC would meet with the State Government’s cabinet jobs committee to discuss a plan to help to protect the current 60,000 resource sector jobs and the tens of thousands of jobs across the 24,000 businesses that support the industry.
“Industry has been doing all the heavy lifting to try to survive this worst resources downturn in many decades, stripping billions of dollars of costs out of their businesses,” he said.
“The time has well and truly come for governments – Federal, state and local – to play their part, in partnership with industry.
“We are not looking for bailouts or subsidies but our entire sector needs certainty and support in the shape of commitments to reduce red tape and unjustified government-imposed and government-sanctioned costs.
“At the top of our list are royalties, local government rates and the charges from government and private sector providers of rail, port, power and water services.”