Qld delays mine emissions cuts until 2027

Marty SilkAAP
The Queensland government will work with miners to slash emissions under a new plan.
Camera IconThe Queensland government will work with miners to slash emissions under a new plan. Credit: AAP

Queensland’s coal and gas miners won’t have to cut any fugitive carbon emissions for another five years.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has pledged to slash carbon pollution 30 per cent below 2005 levels and to net zero by 2050.

Methane leaking from coal mines and gas fields accounts for about 8.7 per cent of state emissions, according to federal government data.

But methane pollution could be two to 10 times higher than that, according to a report by British environmental think tank Ember last month.

The government says it will work with miners on plans to slash emissions in the Queensland Resource Industry Development plan, released on Friday.

It says a new policy will lead to “substantial and consistent” pollution cuts with transparent and regular reporting.

But it won’t come into effect until 2027, meaning miners won’t have to cut any fugitive emissions for another five years.

“The more Queensland’s coal mines can reduce their operational emissions, the more competitive they can remain,” the plan said.

“Equally important, this decarbonisation will support Queensland in achieving its emissions reductions targets in 2030 and 2050.”

In the meantime, the government has indicated it will use taxpayer funds to support new and ongoing fossil extraction.

It is consulting the gas industry about whether or not it should build a new 500-kilometre gas pipeline out of the Bowen Basin.

“This work is expected to be completed by the end of 2022,” the plan said.

“The Queensland government will then consider the findings of this study and determine the appropriate next steps,”

The plan includes a commitment from the government to “consider any necessary future action” to support coal mining workers and communities.

Coal miner lobby Queensland Resources Council dismissed the plan, saying the government can’t be trusted after it raised coal taxes in this week’s budget.

“We now know the Queensland Government’s plan for the resources sector is to increase taxes, short-change resources communities and drive away jobs and investment,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

Meanwhile, the government wants to speed up the objections process for proposed mining projects as well, saying there are “inconsistencies” under existing laws.

“These can cause delays and create inequities for stakeholders,” the plan said.

The Queensland Law Reform Commission has been ordered to review existing laws on objections from January 2023.

The commission will hand down its recommendations on changes in January 2025.

In the meantime, the government will consider changing laws to streamline the process in which companies have to notify the public about planned projects.

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