A Bill put forward by the Greens seeking to ban all thermal coal mining in the Galilee Basin could have detrimental impacts not only on the economic future of regional Queensland, but in particular the current state of North Queensland.
Senator Larissa Waters introduced the Galilee Basin (Coal Prohibition) Bill 2018 on 5 December 2018 as a Private Members Bill, with the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications Committee Secretary calling for submissions. If this Bill was to pass, projects such as the Adani Carmichael Mine and Rail Project would not proceed.
In addition, there are six other mines that could proceed in the Galilee Basin potentially generating more than 15,000 direct jobs according to the Queensland Government’s Co-ordinator-General. The Galilee Basin would generate more than $40 billion in taxes, helping to fund more schools, hospitals and public services. The Adani project will be the catalyst to the realisation of all six mines.
Townsville Enterprise has provided a submission on the Bill, in support of the Queensland Resources Council's submission, highlighting three key reasons why this Bill should not pass:
1. The Queensland Government has a thorough assessment and approval process for resource projects, which regulates thermal coal mining. The project assessment framework is put in place to ensure the responsible development of the State's resources.
2. The opportunity cost of prohibiting thermal coal development in the Galilee Basin would be significant to the community and Government.
3. Prohibiting coal mining in the Galilee is unlikely to affect the demand for thermal coal globally.
Resources are an important part of our local, state and national economy and the opening of the Galilee Basin after a long and tested environmental approval process will turbocharge jobs, business and confidence for us all – especially North Queensland.
This Bill appears to be nothing more than a political, last-ditch additional hurdle by opponents to stop a project they couldn’t under the law or any other way. It sends a concerning signal to any sector and any investor that even if you meet your obligations, the legislature might retrospectively change the rules. It would be a terrible investment precedent for Australia.