Industry’s half-billion-dollar boom
BOOMING coal and mineral exports are expected to pour an extra half a billion dollars into the State Government's coffers this financial year, according to new figures.
Analysis by the Queensland Resources Council predicts resources royalties will surge to a record $5 billion in 2018-19, delivering a welcome windfall for Treasurer Jackie Trad as she prepares to hand down her second mid-year fiscal and economic review in the coming days.
The projections come as the State Government announced a final surplus of $1.753 billion for 2017-18, about $200 million more than estimated, but down from $2.825 billion the year before.
Revenue increased by 3 per cent, but total expenses grew to more than $56 billion on the back of surging employee and superannuation expenses in health and education.
With Ms Trad poised to deliver the mid-year Budget this week, buoyant resources prices are set to push mining royalties to a record $5 billion this year, up from $4.5 billion predicted in June.
QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that strong metallurgical and thermal coal prices were driving royalty tax returns.
"QRC is confident this figure will now exceed $5 billion, which is good news for the Palaszczuk Government and more importantly good news for all Queenslanders who will benefit through the Government's increased capacity to invest in services and infrastructure," he said.
Mr Macfarlane said royalty tax payments of $5 billion meant the resources industry was paying more than $1000 to the Government for every person in the state.
"This is enough to fund the annual salary of more than 71,000 beginning teachers or more than 70,000 first-year constables or more than 72,000 registered nurses," he said.
But Mr Macfarlane warned that the mining industry required policy certainty and stable tax rates to continue delivering record windfalls for the state amid intense global competition for capital.
"Abrupt changes to policy or tweaking the rates of royalty taxes will undermine the sector's ability to employ more, invest more, export more and ultimately pay more royalty taxes," Mr Macfarlane said.
"Strong commodity prices have meant the competition for capital from other international mining jurisdictions is much more intense.
"Queensland cannot afford to lose that competition, because that will cost jobs, investment, exports and royalty taxes for Queensland."