Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche. Contributed

QRC claims Australia's leaders are buckling under pressure

QUEENSLAND'S top mining lobby group launched a wide-ranging attack on the Federal Government, Opposition and online activism.

Queensland Resource Council chief executive Michael Roche told a Brisbane mining conference he felt politicians - including Prime Minister Julia Gillard - "just don't get it" when it came to the industry.

"Their attention span is being stretched to breaking point thanks to a cocophony of virtual voices cleverly manipulated by activists from both sides of politics," he said.

The criticism followed a meeting on Thursday between new Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray, the QRC and its key members, including mining giants BHP Billiton, Xstrata, Peabody and Anglo American.

Mr Roche said the new minister appeared to be following in the footsteps of his predecessor Martin Ferguson, a politician respected by industry for his knowledge and understanding.

But his stance on Mr Gray did not apply to his Parliamentary colleagues who Mr Roche said were buckling under pressure from interest groups.

"They are capable of making politicians go to water by creating perceptions of perceptions," Mr Roche said.

"Orchestrated media and email campaigns are their weapons of choice."

The QRC's national counterparts - the Minerals Council of Australia - is currently running a television advertising campaign warning the Federal Goverment and Opposition not to impose more taxes or charges on the industry.

Mr Roche quoted Prime Minister Julia Gillard's defence of the live-export ban, which she said risked the "social licence" of that industry.

"I just don't see those words coming from people like Martin Ferguson, Simon Crean, or their predecessors in the Howard, Keating and Hawke governments," he said.

Mr Roche said Queensland coal mining was in a precarious state and needed to be protected from new taxes or royalty payments which could be installed on either a state or federal level.

"I am starting to wonder if it will take more mine closures and more people out of work to convince politicians and bureacrats what Martin Ferguson has been telling all who would listen for 12 months.

"The rivers of gold have dried up."