Ipswich mines avoided $10m in royalties with loophole
A LEGAL loophole means many mining giants do not have to pay the state millions of dollars in royalties on coal they mine.
A worried Ipswich City Council contacted the State Government about the century-old property legislation almost 20 years ago and discovered the state had missed out on more than $10 million in royalties from Ebenezer, Oceanic, Jeebropilly and Oakleigh mines in just two financial years.
A Department of Mines and Energy report was given to council showing the state had received $225,000 from the mines in the 1995-96 and 1996-97 financial years.
Councillor David Pahlke has called for mines to justify their existence and consider their legacies by giving back to the community.
He said historically not a large amount of royalties came out of Ipswich and Rosewood.
Cr Pahlke questioned whether it was worth having the mines if they did not contribute to the community more.
He said people living closest to the mines needed more benefits.
Cr Pahlke said he believed the mines could have done more in the 150 years there had been mines in the area.
But he singled out the New Hope Group as one of the companies that had taken an effort to contribute to the community.
Queensland University of Technology economist Dr Mark McGovern is calling on the government to make changes to the law as the Treasurer looks for more money for the coming state budget.
Dr McGovern said the state had ownership of resources on behalf of the people.
In the 10 years up to December 31, 2009, the state missed out on $554 million in royalties from Queensland mines because that was paid to private owners.
Queensland Treasury could not give the figures for each mine that was paying private royalties, rather than State royalties.
It was explained as "commercial in confidence".
But the QT was told it would be given updated figures on how much private royalties had been paid in the past five years, only to be told a week later it was not possible.