Companies mining for coal in regional Queensland are considering a government pitch to tip $70 million of their profits into an infrastructure fund or face a royalties hike.
The state’s biggest coal miners on Wednesday met with Treasurer Jackie Trad, who asked them to give some of their profits to a new regional infrastructure fund, on top of their existing community investment.
Ms Trad says the government has committed $30 million to the scheme, and wants to reach $100 million over three years with the help of the resources industry.
She has ruled out increasing coal royalties in the state budget she will hand down next month, but says the issue will be revisited next year if firms don’t sign on.
If they do, Ms Trad has promised royalties will stay where they are for a further two years.
But Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan says the move amounts to a highway robbery.
“What government has ever approached an industry like this and said give us your money or we are going to tax you?” he told Sky News.
“Then they have the hide to say in the same statement they support the industry and they support the resources sector.”
Ms Trad expects a response from industry on Thursday, and hopes the fund will gain the interest of other companies mining for Queensland coal.