Marty Silk, AAP and staff writers
The Queensland mining sector’s peak body has claimed the Palaszczuk Government’s move to increase coal royalties in the upcoming State Budget could jeopardise regional jobs and mining projects.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said tax increases could impact the financial viability of resources’ projects.
“Increasing royalty taxes, almost overnight and without warning, will have a negative impact on foreign investment and confidence in our industry,” he said.
“New resources projects – and plans to extend existing projects – could be put on hold, regional economies will start to slow down, and it will be regional Queenslanders who pay the highest price.”
Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector’s total economic contribution to the Queensland economy last financial year was $84.3 billion, which included $2.5 billion in royalty taxes paid to the State Government.
“This year, companies will contribute more than three times as much in royalties – an increase of $6 billion in one year – because commodity prices have gone up. We will pay a record $8 billion in royalty taxes – the most ever paid to a Queensland Government – because when commodity prices go up, so do royalties,” he said.
Mr Macfarlane described the decision to increase taxes as a “broken election promise” by the Palaszczuk Government.
However, Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick was adamant his 2020 election pledge for no new or increased taxes was made to voters, not businesses.
Mr Dick is set to lift taxes on gambling firms and coal miners in next Tuesday’s Queensland Budget after promising no new or increased taxes at the last election.
“We didn’t make a promise to corporations here in Queensland, or in Australia, or around the world,” Mr Dick said.
“We certainly didn’t make promises to big offshore betting companies based in tax havens like the Isle of Man and other parts.
“We made the promise to the people and we’ve delivered on that.”
States and territories don’t collect income tax, which is a federal government responsibility, so it’s unclear which taxes on voters Mr Dick was promising not to change.
He’s promised that $35.5 million from higher tax income will be invested in the Translational Research Institute, to help local firms develop breakthrough technologies such as vaccines.
“Turning Maroon know-how, into Maroon business products,” Mr Dick said.
Mr Dick already announced in April car registration and charges will rise 2.5 per cent in 2022/23, after a 1.7 per cent rise in the current financial year.
The government will also pocket interest earnings on rental tenant’s bonds.
In return, the Treasurer has promised to cut $14.50 off monthly household power bills, which are set to rise by at least that amount from July.
The State Government will fund a new $750 million integrated cancer centre at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and put $200 million aside for new roads, sewage systems and other infrastructure in the state’s southeast to spur new housing developments.
Public high school students are to have access to free period products, while $72 million will go towards a new aeromedical hub at Brisbane Airport.
A further $35 million will go towards feasibility studies for pumped hydropower storage projects and $13 million will be invested in the National Battery Testing Centre at the Queensland University of Technology.
All up, Mr Dick expects to spend about $1.5 billion more than the government earns in his 2022/23 budget, which is about $900 million less than the deficit he forecast six months ago.
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