Inquiry into Galilee Basin State Development Area

by Mark Ogge and Rod Campbell

The Queensland Government is conducting an inquiry into a proposal to declare an official “State Development Area” over prospective coal projects in the Galilee Basin of Central Queensland and across the area between the Galilee Basin and proposed coal export terminals at the port of Abbot Point.

The effect of the Galilee Basin State Development Area (GBSDA) would be to prioritise coal mining, transport and port development over other land uses across a large area of Queensland. The projects enabled by this State Development Area are some of the largest and potentially most environmentally damaging projects ever proposed for Queensland, with significant social and economic impacts. Negative economic impacts will be felt by existing coal mining regions in Queensland, as well as other important industries, particularly agriculture and tourism.

Despite these negative impacts, the economic merits of the projects in the area have not been adequately assessed. Economic assessment to date has been based on input-output modelling techniques described as ‘biased’ and ‘abused’ by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Productivity Commission. No Cost Benefit Analysis has been conducted, in contrast to Queensland Government guidelines which require it.

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