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MEDIA RELEASE: Resources investment dips in Queensland in the wake of ‘short-sighted’ approach

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Queensland’s resources and energy industry will conservatively require an additional 4650 workers by the end of 2028, according to new modelling released today by the Australian Resources & Energy Employer Association. 

But there are concerning signs, with Queensland the only state to have reduced major project workforce numbers in this year’s forecasting report compared to last year.

While the overall number of projects (16) remains the same as 2022, the number of new jobs over the projected five-year period (2023-2028) is down from 5560 in last year’s Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast report to 4470 this year.

Total project investment is down 20 per cent to $14.5 billion.

AREEA CEO Steve Knott said the slide appeared to come from reduced coal project investment following the Queensland Government’s coal royalties hike.

“Several large coal projects were cancelled or deferred indefinitely,” Mr Knott said.

“Last year AREEA forecast 10 coal projects would create demand for 4400 jobs over five years (2022-2027). This year, that number is six coal projects (2023-2028) with forecast workforce demand near halving at 2600.

“While still a healthy pipeline, clearly the Queensland Government’s snap decision to massively increase coal royalties has taken its toll on investor confidence.

“Hopefully, it will reconsider its short-sighted approach.

“This is a timely reminder to policymakers that the strength and contribution of the industry cannot be taken for granted. Mooted changes to federal taxation, environmental and energy policy must be treated with equal caution.”

AREEA’s Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast: 2023-2028 breaks down the estimated labour required to operate new, expansion and restarted mining and oil and gas projects expected to enter production by December 2028.

Nationally, the report lists 103 projects as being either committed or advanced in feasibility and considered likely to proceed within the five-year period. This would create demand for an additional 28,260 new workers across the country.

Western Australia has increased its projected workforce growth by 14 per cent since last year’s report.

But growth in projections is well dispersed across the nation, with the real surprises in the smaller resources regions: South Australia has tripled its projected workforce growth, Victoria’s numbers are up seven-fold and the Northern Territory has seen an increase of 25 per cent.

For the first time in four years, New South Wales takes the mantle as the second most favoured jurisdiction in the country for mining and energy investment and associated jobs growth.

Mr Knott said Queensland’s resources and energy industry directly employed 70,100 people, or around 23 per cent of the national workforce.

Just two years ago, the state’s resources workforce averaged 87,000 workers or 24 per cent more  than today.

“Thankfully, projects like Olive Downs, Hillalong and Wilkie Creek are keeping the coal sector alive in Queensland,” Mr Knott said.

“Other sectors remain somewhat healthy. There are six projects in the ‘non-coal mining’ sectors set to drive nearly 1400 new jobs over the next two years, highlighted by Eva Copper, Ravenswood expansion and Saint Elmo.

“Another – the Sconi Nickel Project is further out on the timeline and promises 300 jobs. There are three onshore CSG/LNG projects expected to come online by late 2027, two owned by Arrow Energy including Surat Gas, which is yet to reach FID but promises 200 energy sector jobs.”


Find the report here

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