Dick agrees to massive regional mining fund injection
ONE hundred million dollars is headed for the regions to fund an infrastructure bonanza as the mining industry took a swipe at former treasurer Jackie Trad for failing to sew up the deal earlier.
After his first week in the job, Treasurer Cameron Dick announced a deal on the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund - first mooted by his predecessor a year ago - had finally been reached with 27 companies that will tip in $70 million over three years.
In exchange, the Palaszczuk Government will tip $30 million in and guarantee it won't raise royalty rates on coal and minerals for the next three years to deliver certainty to the industry.
Welcoming the deal, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane delivered a thinly-veiled rebuke to Ms Trad, who has previously spoke of the need to transition away from coal mining.
He said the industry had been "keen to get it finalised" after 12 months of negotiation, with a panel now set to decide what infrastructure would be built.
"The current Treasurer has a good understanding of the resources industry and we've been able to bring it to a conclusion," Mr Macfarlane said.
" … The previous treasurer had a broad portfolio and she worked across a lot of issues."
Asked what the sticking points were, he said it was "a complicated process" and the industry had wanted to get an acceptable memorandum of understanding in place and other guarantees.
Mr Dick praised the industry on announcing the partnership, adding: "I'm so delighted we've been able to do this in a week."
"While COVID-19 has wrought terrible damage on the lives and businesses of Queenslanders some of our traditional, regionally-focused industries like mining and agriculture has spared us from even greater economic damage," he said.
"They've kept Queenslanders employed and continued to generate export revenue for our state.
"The Palaszczuk Government backs the resources industry.
"We back the jobs and communities that industry is built on."
Meanwhile, Mr Dick flagged an "economic road map" that would pave the way forward through the COVID-19 recovery, which he said could take up to four years.
Asked when Queenslanders could expect a stimulus package like the $2.7 billion building blitz announced by the Victorian Government, Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government was looking at "a range of support measures" for all sectors of the economy.
"This is not going to finish overnight," he said.
"Some commentators have said it's going to take at least four years to get back to pre-COVID levels of employment in Queensland. I want to get back faster if I can."
He said there were broadscale changes happening across the economy that needed to be planned for.
"We are certainly looking at the skills base of our state, so ensuring we've got the skills and the trained workforce we need for a different operating environment for our Queensland economy's going to be important," he said.
"We're still going to need the miners, the farmers, those people who work in our traditional industries.
"But even in our own workplaces, and journalism is no different, a lot of people are working from home, a lot of people are operating differently.
"We need to look at how that's going to work."