Coal price declines make for leaner future budgets

Queensland’s milking cow is losing condition.

The budget handed down yesterday (11Jun24) shows coal royalties contributed $10.541 billion to Queensland’s coffers in 2023-24.

It looks like leaner times ahead with predicted price declines outlined in the budget.

New tiers of the controversial coal royalties system have played a part in maintaining a high coal tax take.

That’s expected to account for about $3.6 billion of that 2023-24 total.

It was a matter of returning a fair share of coal super-profits to Queenslanders, said Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick.

But the Queensland Resources Council says the large contribution from the mining sector shows what’s at stake.

The government needed to get policy settings attract future investment in new projects said QRC chief executive officer Janette Hewson.

The Budget also confirmed the State Government had again significantly underestimated the impact of its decision to introduce the world’s highest coal tax rates said Ms Hewson. 

“Six months ago, the Government forecast coal royalties would reach $9.2 billion this financial year but that figure has now soared to $10.5 billion,” she said. 

“Overall, the resources sector contributed 14 per cent of all State Government revenue, which is more than any other industry. “

The Budget papers note Queensland’s coal industry benefited from an additional $88 billion in export revenues across the period from July 2021 to March 2024 compared with the same period just three years earlier, that is, July 2018 to March 2021. 

The premium hard coking coal spot price fell sharply in March 2024, from $US314 per tonne at the end of February to $US243 per tonne at the end of April. 

‘Looking forward, as supply conditions continue to normalise, the hard coking coal spot price is expected to continue to moderate towards medium‑term fundamentals,’ the Budget papers state. 

‘Accordingly, the revenue raised from the new tiers — which only take effect during periods of high prices — will decline over time.”

The Budget includes a commitment to $3.739 billion in new and expanded measures in 2024–25 to support Queenslanders in tackling cost-of-living challenges including $1000 rebate on electricity bills (in addition to a $300 rebate from the Australian Government).

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