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Feb 23, 2021

Suppliers urged to speak up on ‘anti-resources activism’

Suppliers urged to speak up on ‘anti-resources activism’

The Queensland Resources Council is urging businesses supplying the mining sector to have their say in an inquiry into the impact of recent banking and insurance policy changes on export industries.

The QRC plans to highlight the impact of ‘anti-resources activism’ on the ability of some businesses to renew insurance policies and their ability to access finance.

This will be part of its submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth inquiry.

“This is an extremely serious situation for the resources sector and will lead to job losses and businesses closing down as no business can operate without access to adequate insurance and finance,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.

“As an example, the issue with public indemnity insurance is a problem because our members require all contractors and suppliers to have this cover or we cannot engage them to provide goods and services.

“It is becoming a massive issue, which is why the QRC is urging every Queensland business associated with mining and gas operations having problems with insurance or finance – whether it’s dealing with unreasonable premium increases or being refused cover or finance – to provide a submission to this inquiry before the closing date of March 31.”

Mr Macfarlane said ‘anti-resources activism’ was starting to affect smaller businesses in vital regional centres like Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville and Toowoomba.

“The QRC is hearing anecdotal evidence about regional businesses having problems renewing insurance policies or loan refinancing or even rental agreements because of their association with the resources sector,” he said.

“This is not only unfair and could put people out of business, but it’s very disappointing given resources has helped steer Queensland through the COVID-19 pandemic and resources is Australia’s number one export industry.

“The law-abiding businesses that work in and with the resources sector have every right to expect fair terms for banking and insurance and we want this inquiry to shine a spotlight on cases where that is not happening.”

Insurance issues threaten business’ future

Mackay-based peak industry association Resource Industry Network (RIN) also hopes to see the inquiry shed light on the growing concern around insurance accessibility and affordability for businesses associated with coal mining.

“We know of local businesses being denied insurance for servicing coal industry customers, which has them questioning the feasibility of their operations to continue, ” RIN general manager Dean Kirkwood said.

“These decisions restrict a business’ ability to operate, with a number of members believing the limitations for METS businesses is at a threshold where they are asking if it’s tenable to continue to operate.

“What is obvious is that government, insurance companies, financial institutions, and the like, need to be educated on the different types of coal produced in this country. Notably, the fact that the majority of the Bowen Basin’s coal is metallurgical coal, not thermal.”

RIN is also encouraging local supply chain businesses to consider making a submission to the inquiry so the full extent of the issue can be realised and recommendations for improvements made.

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