Parliament House Canberra

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has expressed disappointment over the treatment of a delegation of local government and community representatives from a major Queensland resources region that occurred during a recent visit to Canberra.

QRC Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, said members of the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) group deserve an apology from the government representatives involved.

“Members of the group led by Western Downs Regional Council Mayor, Paul McVeigh, travelled to Canberra to meet in good faith with Federal Government ministers and other representatives, including from the Prime Minister’s Office, to discuss newly introduced gas policies that will have a major impact on their region,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Gas has become a key industry for the region over the past 15 years and TSBE is justifiably proud of the contribution their region makes to the local, state and national economies, not to mention Australia’s energy security.

Mr Macfarlane said the jobs of 4,000 people in their region are directly or indirectly supported by the gas sector so it’s understandable TSBE would want to discuss the negative impact of the Federal Government intervention in the gas market.

“The uncertainty created by the Government’s decision has already seen Senex put a $1 billion project in the region on hold,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“TSBE delegates travelled to Canberra to explain how the flow-on effects of the government intervention are leading to local companies cancelling or postponing projects that would support regional jobs and economic growth.

Mr Macfarlane said to hear accounts from the group that the Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Kristy McBain, instantly dismissed their concerns, with other government officials accusing the companies of ‘wartime profiteering’ is disgraceful.

“If the Federal Government won’t listen to resource companies, it can at least provide regional organisations like TSBE the courtesy of proper consultation on matters that have a deep impact on their communities,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“It is concerning that government representatives instead used the meetings to push an anti-resources ideology, demonising the gas sector to score political points with no regard to the damage being caused to future project investment.”

Mr Macfarlane said it was encouraging to hear that Minister for Resources, Madeleine King, showed some understanding of the group’s concerns, but that she needs to urgently convey their message to her government colleagues.

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