The Queensland Government has urged coal-mining companies to contribute tens of millions of dollars for a regional infrastructure fund to prop up regional communities.
The announcement comes from Treasurer Jackie Trad, who said the State Government would contribute $30 million towards the fund over three years, with coal giants being asked chip in $70 million.
In return, she said there would be a freeze on royalty increases.
“I have put on the table a period of time in which royalties would not change here in Queensland in exchange for … a bit more of a contribution by companies into this fund,” Ms Trad said.
“So, a three-year freeze on any changes to Queensland’s royalty regime, but I want these companies to think about making an additional contribution through this fund to the regional communities in which they operate.”
Related article: New Queensland solar rules deemed “invalid” by Supreme Court
Ms Trad stressed the contributions are voluntary.
“I want to put on record the fact that many mining companies already contribute quite significantly to the local communities in which they operate,” she said.
“That is their social licence. But we know that regional Queensland is still doing it quite tough and we can make a bit more of a contribution if we work together.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the move could save coal companies up to a billion dollars a year.
“It is the Treasurer’s offer, we are prepared to consider it,” Mr Macfarlane said.
Mr Macfarlane will engage coal, gas and mineral companies over the next 24 hours to determine whether to accept the deal.
Related article: Expansion granted for Queensland coal mine