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A growing number of small to medium-sized businesses that service the resources sector are having significant problems securing finance and insurance because of recent climate change-related policy changes by banks and insurers, according to the Queensland Resources Council.   

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Queensland businesses which support the state’s $82.6 billion resources sector, particularly the all-important Mining, Engineering and Technology Services (METS) sector, were being disadvantaged.  

“Insurers and banks are increasingly trying to appease activist shareholders by reducing or cutting ties with operators connected to resources,” Mr McFarlane said.  

Climate change stance batters resource sector suppliers

“In some cases, insurance premiums are tripling, and the cost of credit is skyrocketing, simply because a business is supplying goods or services to the resources sector.

“The irony is that by restricting the ability of METS businesses to renew their insurance policies and access finance, these lenders and insurers are threatening the viability of the very sector that will play a leading role in Queensland’s transition to a low-emissions future.”   

In a presentation to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth Inquiry, Mr Macfarlane said if resources-related businesses couldn’t get finance or insurance at a reasonable rate, jobs in the industry would be lost.  

“Through our submission, the QRC is giving a voice to service companies, many of which are based in regional areas, to send a message that jobs will be lost because of increasingly unfair banking and insurance practices,” he said.    

A recent survey of  QRC supply chain members, representing a combined workforce of 7600, found that 75 per cent said accessing banking or lending services had become much more difficult in the past two years,  44 per cent said that if these banking costs stayed at these levels for the next five years, they would be unlikely to continue operating, and 90 per cent said they had experienced a major change in insurance as a result of working in the resources sector.  

Mr Macfarlane said the QRC supported the Paris Agreement and emissions’ reductions targets, and that Australia’s well-regulated and environmentally sustainable resources sector could continue to thrive while meeting those targets.  

“Queensland is abundant in resources and has the potential to become a global renewable and low-emissions’ energy superpower, but resources companies need a viable METS sector to provide technical expertise and innovation to support our operations,” he said.   

“The QRC hopes this inquiry will encourage the banking and insurance sectors to work with their regional clients to implement practical reforms that will lower emissions and help keep exports rolling.”