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Miners' civil war a mystery - but attack on Greens to go ahead

Business

The walkout by Origin and BHP from the membership of the Queensland Resources Council has left its chief executive Ian Macfarlane confused, but unyielding in his attack on the Greens.

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And he broadened his attack by warning that a Labor government that relied on the Greens to hold power would increase mining royalties. Labor has talked down any prospect of a deal with the Greens.

Macfarlane, a former Minister in the Howard Government, said the “Vote Greens Last” campaign was strategised by the board in February and had several precedents. It was also just Part A of the QRC election campaign.

“There is a Part B, but I can’t talk to you about that,” Macfarlane said

“Every step since then has been approved by the board.”

It follows the dramatic decision by BHP and Origin to suspend their membership of the QRC. South32 has also expressed its concern about the campaign and it is understood that Anglo is similarly concerned. BHP, South 32 and Anglo are all on the 14-person board of the QRC, as is APLNG which is part owned by Origin.

“We respect their decision but there are so many precedents we are a little confused,” he said, citing BHP’s role in the attack on the Rudd Government and its mining tax as well as the WA iron ore producers campaign against then National Party leader Brendon Grylls and his plan to lift iron ore royalties.

“The mining companies spent millions in 2010 in the campaign against the super profits tax and Kevin Rudd. That was the beginning of the demise of Kevin Rudd,” Macfarlane said.

“The board has voted to do part A (of the campaign) and it was reviewed as of last Friday.

“The decided not to review the decision.

“It has not been my decision.

“We would expect under a Labor-Green coalition that they would increase royalties because the Greens are saying they want to increase them four-fold.

“Obviously environmental legislation and green tape will increase, the Lake Eyre Basin will be locked away and the Greens will attempt to wind back the Galilee approvals.”

The Greens announced today a $374 million a year plan to establish a universal, free school breakfast and lunch program in every state primary and secondary school in Queensland.  The program would be funded by the Greens’ plan to increase royalties for mining corporations, which will raise an extra $55 billion over four years.

Macfarlane said the campaign had not taken a lead from Adani or New Hope but had stemmed from a campaign against Jackie Trad and what the QRC considered was a plan to hike royalties when Trad was Treasurer.

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