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Queensland tells gas industry to cough up more tax

Christian Fernsby |
Gas companies in the Australian state of Queensland have been hit with an increased tax demand following the release of the state budget on Tuesday but some in the industry are unhappy, saying they already pay more than their fair share.

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The increase from 10 percent to 12.5 percent is expected to net the Queensland state government 331 million U.S. dollars over the next four years.

State Treasurer Jackie Trad defended the decision, citing "incredibly competitive royalty rates" when the industry was first developing as well as recent expansion in revenues.

"We think now is the time for the gas industry to pay a little bit more back to the people of Queensland for their resource," Trad told the national broadcaster on Wednesday.

"We want to see the balance right the industry grow, but we want to see a return back to the Queensland taxpayer."

Last year, joint venture Australia Pacific LNG, whose main export facility is based near Gladstone in central Queensland, recorded a 45 percent jump in sales for the December ending quarter, compared with the year before.

Queensland Resource Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said that increased taxes threaten jobs and the future of the industry.

"Billions were poured in Queensland's world-leading gas industry based on export models, while at the same time supplying the gas that domestic manufacturers need," Macfarlane said.

"By changing the royalty rate structure, Queensland risks losing its competitiveness in global commodity markets."

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