Queensland’s raw materials minister has downplayed the Japanese ambassador’s concerns about the coal tax hike, making the state an unpredictable place to invest.
Since the start of the new fiscal year, miners are paying a higher share of taxes on coal sold for more than $175 a ton.
In a speech at the University of Queensland on Wednesday, Ambassador Shingo Yamagami said companies are now uncertain about investing in the state.
Resources Secretary Scott Stewart has downplayed the diplomat’s comments, saying increasing the coal tax is in the best interests of Queensland residents.
“It’s his comments, and he obviously cares for the companies from Japan, and he’s welcome to those comments,” Stewart told reporters on Thursday.
“But we need to make sure we look at those multinational companies, look at those super profits they make, and some of that money that is owned by every Queenslander – and bring that back to our communities to take care of our schools and our hospitals.” .”
Treasurer Cameron Dick said Queensland would maintain close ties with Japan that were “more than coal”.
“Our relationship with Japan is one that is strong – it’s valuable and it’s important,” said Mr. Dick.
However, the treasurer insisted that the increase in the coal tax would ensure that some of the mining profits would be returned to the people of Queensland.
“It’s only fair that we’re trying to get $1.2 billion back for our people over four years so that we can invest in hospitals across Queensland, particularly in regional Queensland where this money is going.”
Mr Yamagami said some Japanese companies are questioning whether Queensland is still the safe and predictable place to invest it has been for decades.
He warned that the increase in the coal tax could have widespread ramifications beyond Japan’s coal industry, in sectors such as hydrogen and infrastructure.
Queensland opposition leader David Crisafulli said he will meet with the ambassador on Friday to try to re-establish ties with Queensland’s largest trading partner.
Mr Crisafulli said Mr Yamagami’s comments reflected how the state’s global trading partners felt about the government’s unpredictable policies.
“One of the foundations of our economy is built on a lack of sovereign risk,” he told reporters.
“These actions undo that, and while we can’t change the betrayal, our partners believe we can prevent it from happening again in the future.”