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Queensland Government get no nett revenue from coal

The 2010-2011 Queensland State Budget projects $2.8 billion in royalties from coalmining [Queensland budget paper 2, 2010].  Coal infrastructure costs borne by the taxpayer are huge.  The development of the Bowen Abbott Point Coal Terminal alone will cost the Queensland taxpayer $1.8-1.9 billion  [Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Minerals and energy, “Major development projects – April 2010 listing”].

Overall, the Queensland Government has committed over the next three financial years $5.7 billion in coal infrastructure development in terminals and rail – this does not include costs presumably covered by the new owners of sold off State assets [Sourcewatch: ABARE April 2010 major projects list].  In addition the State is committed in 2010-2011 to spend $400 million on power station upgrades.

The cost of coal to the State over three years based on an assumption of an average of $3 billion in coal royalties and taxpayer-funded expenditure on coal: a LOSS of half a billion dollars.  These estimates do not include the State’s contribution to CSG!

The nett loss to the state Treasury does not include social costs, road maintenance costs, road closure costs, the cost of fractured communities, loss of agricultural productivity, the cost to the health system, the cost of high water usage, the irreversable damage to aquifers and water quality, the damage to heritage, the effect of coal transportation on the amenity of passenger rail, the lost opportunities to invest in renewable energy resources, the catch-up costs that will be incurred in a post-carbon economy, etc, etc, etc.

And now, ongoing revenue earners – the rail system and the ports – have been sold off for a one-off profit.  Would YOU run a business like that?  Especially when you have accountability to the taxpayers?

Coal is has a toxic effect on the state economy.

Jim McDonald

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