Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said Australian coal will not be staying in the ground while it continues to provide thousands of jobs and bring significant economic benefits both here and across the world.
Pitt said coal remains Australia’s second-largest export and that won’t be changing any time soon despite suggestions otherwise from London-based academics.
“The reality is that global demand for Australian coal is increasing and forecast to continue rising into the next decade at least,” he said, pointing out that Australia accounted for approximately 8 per cent of the world’s thermal and metallurgical coal production, which is exported to over 25 countries including the UK, Germany and New Zealand.
“Our coal is providing the power and steel-making capability to developed and developing nations throughout Asia, creating economic and social opportunities for millions of people,” he added.
According to the minister, that translated to around $50 billion in exports and the industry providing direct jobs for over 50,000 Australians and supporting another 300,000.
“Over $3 billion in royalties last financial year made a significant contribution to the New South Wales and Queensland Governments’ ability to pay for the health services, schools and other essential services Australians rely on. With coal prices currently now back at near record highs, the royalties and taxes paid by the industry will make an even more important contribution to the national economy as our recovery from the global COVID pandemic continues,” the minister said.
Coal-fired power still provides around 65 per cent of Australia’s electricity and remains the most reliable form of power generation.