Treasurer Tim Nicholls
Treasurer Tim Nicholls Kari Bourne

Debate rages over royalties hike

A BIT of soul-searching was part of what it took the Queensland Government to make the controversial decision to increase coal royalties in the sunshine state.

That, of course, and having a "good look at the viability of the industry", Premier Campbell Newman has outlined.

Three days after the State Government revealed they would increase royalty rates to 12.5% for coal valued between $100 and $150 a tonne and 15% thereafter, debate over the decision has raged.

BHP Biliton has forecasted job and production losses as a result of the extra tax and mining magnate Clive Palmer has labelled the move "stupid".

In defence of the royalties hike, Mr Newman outlined the financial success of BHP in Parliament on Thursday.

He said BHP coal had brought in revenue of $10.9 billion, achieved $6.5 billion in earnings before tax and interest and produced 40.9 million tonnes of coal.

"We have a good look at this with treasury officials, we have had discussions and a lot of soul searching about it," Mr Newman said.

"Yes the royalty is high, yes we respect the right of companies to argue for their shareholders but at the end of the day there is a lot more in this issue about viability of coal mines then has been drawn to."

Mr Newman went on to blame BHP for the carbon tax.

"As I understand it we would not have the carbon tax if the CEO or managing director did not get behind the carbon tax as well," he said.

The Newman government's royalties hike will raise $1.6 billion over four years.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls has promised no more hikes for 10 years.