A NEW study claims thermal coal production can be phased out over the next decade with minimal distribution to workers and regional communities.
Central Queensland is highlighted as one of the locations with residents whose livelihoods depend on coal mining, but the study argues a transition is coming regardless of whether Australia is prepared.
"The transition from coal is not, in the end, a matter of policy choice for Australia," states the Australia Institute study.
"Coal-fired electricity generation is in terminal decline globally.
"The only real choice is between a fair and orderly planned transition, including supports and protections for workers and communities affected by the change, and a policy of delay which will lead ultimately only to a chaotic collapse and more painful displacements."
The study, Getting Off Coal: Orderly, Early Transition to Minimise Impact for Australian Economy, was written by John Quiggin, professor of economics at the University of Queensland.
"Australia's transition away from excessive carbon pollution must begin with an urgent and co-ordinated phase-out of thermal coal production and use," Prof Quiggin said.
"Fortunately, with enough advance notice and an appropriate transition plan, the thermal coal industry can be phased out over time without any significant dislocation to workers.