Mirani MP Stephen Andrew. Picture: Daryl Wright
Mirani MP Stephen Andrew. Picture: Daryl Wright

Mining ‘development on steroids’ needed during recession

FAST-TRACKING Central Queensland coal mines is the quickest way for Australia to dig itself out of recession, Mirani MP Stephen Andrew says.

Dawson MP George Christensen on Wednesday warned the resources sector would experience a delayed hit from the COVID-19 crisis as early as next month, after a 0.3 per cent fall in gross domestic product was recorded over the March quarter.

Mr Andrew said the country needed "development on steroids" to fight its way back to economic prosperity.

"There's only one way to create large-scale employment in this recession, and that's to open up big new coal mines at the double," he said.

"It also means annihilating all those bogus bureaucratic barriers that have delayed approvals by up to eight years.

"Any left-wing activists who stand in the way of these thousands of jobs must be shown to be boulders in the road to economic progress."

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Last month, at least 200 contract jobs were slashed across several Central Queensland mine sites amid a collapse in thermal and coking coal prices.

Coal mines dominate the Bowen Basin in Queensland.
Coal mines dominate the Bowen Basin in Queensland.

The mines affected were Peabody's Coppabella Mine, Middlemount Mine and Fitzroy Australia Resources' Carborough Downs Mine.

Significant reductions in the price and demand for coking coal have occurred since mid-March due to COVID-19 lockdowns and reduced steel production across the world.

The Australian Government classed the mining industry as an "essential service" at the start of the pandemic.

National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd said this meant the crisis had solidified the importance of the mining industry to the Australian economy in keeping the nation afloat in a time of uncertainty.

National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd. Picture: supplied
National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd. Picture: supplied

Mr Ackroyd said the industry would continue to be one of Australia's most successful.

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He cited Deloitte's recent Impacts of COVID-19 on the Mining Sector report, which predicted large mining companies would be in better financial shape after coronavirus than they were after the 2008 global financial crisis and 2015 commodity market downturn.

"I think mining will be one of the few industries that is least affected by the coronavirus and will help lead the charge coming out the other end of this pandemic," Mr Ackroyd said.