There was a disappointing lack of depth in policy development related to the resources and energy sector contribution to Queensland industry, both financially and through employment, in the 2017 election.
The two items reported throughout the campaign period relate to the Adani Carmichael Port, Rail and Mine Project and New Hope Group’s New Acland Mine Extension Project.
Adani Carmichael Project
It was reported that the Palaszczuk Labor government would offer infrastructure funding and a royalty holiday for Adani’s Carmichael mine costing Queensland taxpayers almost $500 million over the first five years of production.
Despite vowing that no public funds would go to the coal project, the State Government had been negotiating to take over and upgrade several council roads to the mine in central Queensland at a cost of up to $100m.
This comes on top of an incentive deal approved by the Labor cabinet in May with Adani that will delay the payment of $360m in coal royalties for the five years after it opens, making instead a flat payment of $2m a year with the deferred royalties paid back in full with interest in the ensuing years.
Ms Palaszczuk announced in the first week of the election campaign her government was reneging on its written support to facilitate a concessional federal loan of up to $1 billion for Adani to build a common-user rail line from the Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin coal province.
New Hope New Acland Project
It was reported both parties refused to give assurances that the mine expansion that local jobs hinge on will go ahead, citing a pending judicial review of a non-binding Land Court decision expected in March. One Nation opposed mine extension plans.
Opposition leader Tim Nicholls told the media he was confident the estimated 780 jobs under threat if the mine expansion does not go ahead would be offset by his team’s infrastructure investment.