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Australia: Despite coal bonanza, Queensland Labor budget cuts social services | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


The Queensland state Labor government’s annual budget, delivered last week, has done nothing to alleviate the social crisis confronting the working class despite a record budget surplus produced by a $A10 billion surge in coal royalties.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. [Photo: @camerondickqld]

In effect, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government is profiting from war. It secured a $12 billion surplus—the largest ever recorded by an Australian state—largely on the back of sky-high global coal prices produced by the US-NATO war against Russia in Ukraine and the US-led sanctions imposed on Russian coal and energy exports.

The government ludicrously presented the budget as a Robin Hood-style project, supposedly taking money from the windfall profits of mining companies to provide some “cost of living relief” for households, such as one-off $550 electricity rebates.

“We can deliver our state’s biggest cost-of-living program, our state’s biggest building program and deliver lower debt for one simple reason—progressive coal royalties,” Treasurer Cameron Dick said.

In reality, the coal royalty boost has only a marginal impact on the super-profits of the coal giants, while the cost-of-living measures do little to offset the devastating impact on working-class households of surging energy, food, petrol and other prices, and soaring home mortgage repayments and rents.

In addition, essential social programs and services, such as public housing, continue to decline, despite the deepening social crisis, while the Labor government pours money into the police and other punitive “law and order” programs.

The budget papers reveal income of more than $15 billion from coal royalties in 202223—about $10 billion more than had been forecast 12 months ago—due mainly to sustained high coal prices, mostly triggered by the Ukraine war.

Even as it claims to be ending the state’s reliance on coal-generated electricity supplies by 2035, this means the government is more dependent than ever on coal royalties. Dick said there was still a future for the multibillion-dollar coal industry, especially metallurgical coal used for making steel.

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