Coal commitment shrinking in QLD
The Queensland Government will not give away royalties for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has changed her tune on the $16 billion Carmichael coalmine, saying her government will not play a role in facilitating a $1 billion loan to Adani from the federal Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), and that it will recoup any royalties it allows the miner to keep early on.
NAIF funding is usually administered by state governments, but Queensland deputy premier Jackie Trad says the Commonwealth will have to do the leg work if it wants to back the mine.
“Our position is that the federal government should be funding Adani from the NAIF directly and not using Queensland as a middle man,” she said.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the state will do what it is constitutionally required to do.
“Our role, for constitutional reasons, is the legal financing contract, the loan agreement including the drawdown and timing, repayment of interest — all of those things have to have state involvement constitutionally,” he said.
“We have a role as a constitutional link but that is about the extent of our involvement.
“But there are no funds that actually flow to the state. It goes directly between the Australian Government and the proponent — in this case that's Adani.”
Meanwhile, the state has tightened its proposed royalties scheme, which allows Adani to defer payments to the state government until the fifth year of the mine’s operation.
Ms Palaszczuk says any deferred royalties would have to be paid back with interest.
There are no real details on the amount of royalties that could be deferred, or the rate of interest that Adani would have to pay.
“I am not going to budge from the decision that I have made, that we have made as a cabinet, because this is the best decision for Queenslanders,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“All royalties will be paid, and they will be paid with interest. That is our principle and that is the bottom line.”
The Queensland Government decided on the slightly harsher terms at a cabinet meeting on Friday, after a week of sustained attacks on the previous plan not to collect hundreds of millions in mining royalties.
A ReachTel poll released last week found 58.8 per cent of 1618 Queenslanders polled were either opposed or strongly opposed to state government support for the mine.
The Queensland Resources Council has argued that the industry already pays far too much in royalties.
Conservationists have questioned the composition of the government funding bodies that could still step in to help, in the video below.