Mining key to fortunes of region’s economy
IF coal mines were closed or new developments prevented from opening, the employment and economic impacts for communities like Townsville would be massive, a recruitment professional says.
Clayton Cook of TP Human Capital also warns that statistics showing less than 1 per cent of Townsville workers are employed in mining are very misleading because of the sector's role in supporting activity across the economy.
"Mining is very important," Mr Cook said.
Mr Cook was commenting as Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Government's climate change policies will "evolve" to prepare for the "new normal" of devastating bushfires.
Mr Morrison is sticking to the Government's emissions target and talks about tackling emissions "without a carbon tax, without putting up electricity prices and without shutting down traditional industries upon which regional Australians depend for their very livelihood".
Townsville, which supports coal and metalliferous mining, is one of the centres at ground zero. Based on 2016 Census results, a Queensland Government Statistician's Office profile suggests only 531 people or just 0.6 per cent of the Townsville workforce is employed in mining.
The Queensland Resources Council 2018-19 estimates are higher, indicating the resources sector employs 1854 people in the city and the industry spending, excluding wages, supports 798 businesses and 41 community organisations.
Mr Cook said the impact of mining was much higher than statistics suggested.
"Mining and resources supports so many other industries. A lot of businesses rely on mining," Mr Cook said.
"In terms of actual direct numbers, they might not look high, but the mining industry is massive to communities like Townsville."
Mr Cook said the importance of mining was reflected in the downturns that hit regional economies when commodity prices crashed in 2015.
He said the performance of the Townsville economy correlated very closely with mining, particularly in the metals sector.
As for calls to wind back the fossil fuel industry, Mr Cook wanted more information about man-made climate change before "hasty" decisions were made.
"Regional Queensland would be significantly impacted by hasty government decisions to transition to other forms of power," Mr Cook said.
"No one has convinced me it's possible to run heavy industry like refineries with renewable energy as yet."