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THE State Government is under increasing pressure to step into the Aurizon controversy after another mining giant backed the need to rein in the company to prevent it from impacting future Queensland coal exports.
Earlier this week, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance asset president Rag Udd said legislation had to change to give power to the Queensland Competition Authority to be able to force Aurizon to change its practices if they were hurting exports.
Anglo American’s chief Tyler Mitchelson says Aurizon’s monopoly is hurting Queensland’s coal industry. Picture: Glenn HuntAnglo Coal chief executive Tyler Mitchelson said Aurizon’s actions had been completely unacceptable.
“At some point, there does need to be a review of the regulatory framework to ensure this situation is prevented from ever happening again. To have a monopoly network and react the way they have, hurts the industry, it hurts the state and it hurts the country,’’ Mr Mitchelson said.
“For the industry to consider areas of common ground with Aurizon, as is permitted within the regulatory process, they must cease using maintenance practices as a negotiating tactic.”
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says the Palaszczuk Government needs to step in. Picture: AAP/Glenn HuntLNP leader Deb Frecklington said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had gone missing on the Aurizon issue.
“We believe there are fundamental flaws with the current legislation and it needs to be fixed as a priority,” Ms Frecklington said.
“It’s clear that this has dragged on for far too long and Annastacia Palaszczuk has been missing in action.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said his group had told the Government there needs to be legislative safeguards “so this sort of economic vandalism by Aurizon cannot be attempted again in the future”.
“We need a resolution to the current impasse first and foremost, but reform is needed and there is acceptance of that on both sides of politics,” Mr Macfarlane said.
QRC’s Ian Macfarlane slammed Aurizon’s actions.Aurizon altered its maintenance practices on the monopoly central Queensland coal network earlier this year to combat a draft decision from the QCA restricting the revenue the company could earn.
Those maintenance changes could affect up to 20 million tonnes of $4 billion of coal exports. However, there is so far no noticeable impact at the ports which continue to report record coal levels.
The State Government has said it will wait until the QCA process is over before
consulting about ways the process could be improved.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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