THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to hold an inquiry into the impact of recent banking and insurance policy changes on export industries like resources.
The QRC will provide a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth to highlight increasing concerns about the impact of ‘anti-resources activism’ on the ability of some businesses to renew insurance policies, particularly public indemnity insurance, and their ability to access finance.
“This is an extremely serious situation for the resources sector and will lead to job losses and businesses closing down as no business can operate without access to adequate insurance and finance,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“As an example, the issue with public indemnity insurance is a problem because our members require all contractors and suppliers to have this cover or we cannot engage them to provide goods and services.
“It is becoming a massive issue, which is why the QRC is urging every Queensland business associated with mining and gas operations having problems with insurance or finance - whether it’s dealing with unreasonable premium increases or being refused cover or finance - to provide a submission to this inquiry before the closing date of March 31."
Mr Macfarlane said ‘anti-resources activism’ is starting to affect smaller businesses in vital regional centres like Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville and Toowoomba.
“The QRC is hearing anecdotal evidence about regional businesses having problems renewing insurance policies or loan refinancing or even rental agreements because of their association with the resources sector,” he said.
“This is not only unfair and could put people out of business, but it’s very disappointing given resources has helped steer Queensland through the COVID-19 pandemic and resources is Australia’s number one export industry.
“The law-abiding businesses that work in and with the resources sector have every right to expect fair terms for banking and insurance and we want this inquiry to shine a spotlight on cases where that is not happening.”
Mr Macfarlane said it is in the national interest for a strong resources sector to continue to flourish.
“In Queensland alone the resources sector adds $82.6 billion to the economy and supports more than 420,000 jobs,” he said.
“All Australians benefit from a strong resource sector so we should be taking steps as a nation to further consolidate our position as a global leader, especially as Queensland resources are set to play a critical role in the further uptake of renewable energy sources and technologies around the world.
“The technical nous that will support this innovation lives in the Mining Engineering and Technology Services (METS) companies who are most affected by this insurance drought.
“We can’t do this without the support of the small businesses and expertise in our regional centres.”