For years the Greens have been saying we need to raise mining royalties and it is high time that we use the immense wealth generated by multinational mining companies to help fund the things that Queenslanders desperately need.
The Treasurer has finally listened and has recognised the responsibility that he has, that this government has, to Queenslanders to be generating the wealth that we need to tackle the housing crisis, the cost-of living crisis, the climate crisis. Earlier this month, I and the member for Maiwar wrote to the Treasurer, and we said—
Mining profits are surging due to a global commodities price spike.
The Queensland Greens have consistently called for higher royalties, to make sure big mining companies pay their fair share, but the unprecedented coal price spike demands an emergency response. As the world moves away from both thermal and metallurgical coal, Queensland must invest in a fair transition for fossil fuel communities.
The Treasurer must have this letter up on his vision board because we have seen the government finally have the guts to take on the immense power and wealth of the coal lobby. This budget shows Queenslanders what we could do if we properly taxed mining billionaires and use this immense wealth to improve all of our lives. As we have just heard, the mining companies are not doing it tough. We have heard about Glencore, Peabody and Anglo American with record share prices.
As the Treasurer has admitted, once the coal price drops back below $175 a tonne, these changes will have no impact on coal companies and will generate no additional benefit for Queenslanders. Once we head into the 2023-24 financial year and the coal price drops back, these royalties will have next to no impact and no benefit for Queenslanders. We will fail to properly capture the coal boom, to properly tax these big companies, and we will squander the last decade of coal.
We are urging the Treasurer to muster up the courage that they have already shown and take the next step to increase the base rate for coal and gas royalties to 35 per cent, similar to what Norway has levied on their petroleum. We have a responsibility to the 50,000 people on the social housing waiting list. We have a responsibility to the frontline workers who are waiting for a pay increase that at least keeps up with inflation. We have a responsibility to fully fund our state schools that still go without. We have a responsibility to properly fund our mental health sector—no half measures.
If this government implemented now what we have been suggesting, we would have an additional $53 billion over the next four years—$53 billion could build tens of thousands of public homes; $53 billion could build and staff bulk-billing GP clinics right across the state; $53 billion could deliver permanently cheaper electricity to Queenslanders with publicly owned renewable energy. If we want the money we need for a transition to support workers and to fund housing, health care and education, this government has a responsibility to be ratcheting up royalties in the final decade of coal.