Company taxes from coal should go to regions

April 1st, 2019

Bicycle Queensland has called on the Federal Government to spend windfall company tax revenue of $1.2 billion from coal royalties on public and active transport, returning much of the revenue to Queensland, where it originated.

The call follows the release of Federal Treasury data revealing a higher than projected metallurgical coal price would significantly boost company taxes paid to the Federal Government.

Bicycle Queensland CEO, Anne Savage, said the funding could be the key to creating a congestion-free transport network in Australia.

“Yearly emissions from motor vehicles in Australia are roughly the same as the emissions from Queensland’s entire coal and gas-fired electricity supply,” she said.

“If no action is taken to curb motor vehicle use, transport emissions will keep climbing to double 1990 levels by 2035.

“We would welcome the investment of windfall revenue gains from the coal industry into public and active transport, beginning with a massive boost in direct Federal funding for regional cycling infrastructure in Queensland.”

At the moment Queensland regions only receive piecemeal funding from the State Government for cycling-related projects and programs, with allocations of just $14 million for rail trails over four years and an unguaranteed share in project-based funding equivalent to just one per cent of the overall transport and roads budget.

“Regional Queensland communities are doing it tough – this represents a great opportunity to boost funding, boost community life, and boost the regional economy,” Ms Savage said.

“More than 800,000 Queenslanders are weekly cyclists, and many of them live in regional areas, including tens of thousands of kids who don’t currently have a safe route to school.

“We cannot think of a better way to recognise the contribution of our regions to Australia’s bottom line than by building more bikeways to connect people to their schools, shops, parks and pools.

“All of us are crying out for a better quality of life, and most of us are fed up with the frustrations of roads to nowhere.

“Company taxes and coal royalties should be used to undo some of the damage caused by mining activity, including road damage and degradation.

“We’d love to see royalties being used for a better reason than just general expenditure, to create a healthier and more sustainable future for our next generation.

“A windfall gain of $1.2 billion, most of it from Queensland, equals about $200 for every person in the state – it was generated in regional communities and should be used to improve quality of life in our regions,” she said.

Federal Treasury Estimates:

“If the metallurgical coal price remained elevated for two quarters longer than currently assumed, before falling immediately to US$120 per tonne FOB, nominal GDP could be around $2.5 billion higher than forecast in 2018-19 and $3.5 billion higher in 2019-20. This would have a flow on impact to company tax receipts estimated at around $0.2 billion in 2018-19 and $1.0 billion in 2019-20.”*

The average metallurgical coal price this year has been US$204 per tonne.

The estimated $1.2 billion will be in addition to more than $5 billion collected by the Queensland Government from coal royalties this year.

*See page 33 of Link to the 2018-19  Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook https://budget.gov.au/2018-19/myefo/myefo_2018-19.pdf

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