According to the Australian Government’s Office of the Chief Economist, the Australian resource industry:
- had 273 potential new major resource projects worth between $369-472 billion (publicly announced or at the feasibility stage) as of October 2021;
- had 79 new major resource projects at an advanced stage (committed), representing a capital expenditure of $54.3 billion as of October 2021;
- attracted $4.1 billion in total exploration expenditure across minerals, petroleum and energy in 2020-21;
- is expected to generate record export earnings of $425 billion in 2021-22.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (February 2022):
- 276,900 people are directly employed in mining, oil and gas operations across the country (in original terms).
- More resource employees are located in Western Australia and Queensland than any other state, with 131,800 and 74,500 respectively (as at February 2022).
Quarter National Accounts data by the ABS (September 2019) showed that mining growth over the year, from June 2018 to June 2019, was 6.2 per cent (seasonally adjusted), the highest rate of growth of all market sectors and second overall behind health care and social assistance, which grew by 7.9 per cent.
Australia’s resources and energy industry will require around 24,000 new on-site operational employees by 2026, according to AREEA’s Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast 2021–2026 released in January 2021.
It finds 98 projects worth $83.8 billion, either ‘committed’ or considered ‘likely’ by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, will demand 24,433 on-site operating employees by 2026.
The forecast occupational breakdown includes:
- 9,233 mining plant operators;
- 532 petroleum production technicians;
- 3,014 heavy diesel fitters;
- 2,048 other trades, such as electrical, mechanical and maintenance trades;
- 4,842 supervisors, management, administration and other white collar roles; and
- 4,639 engineers, geologists and related roles.
The resource industry has been responsible for a huge level of wealth creation and transfer for well over the past decade.
According the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the mining industry is the highest paying industry in Australia on average, with full-time workers receiving an average $2,656.30 per week (excluding overtime and bonuses). That’s over $138,000 per year.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (February 2022), women represent 20.5% of the direct resources workforce.
This is an area the industry is working hard to improve.
In 2011, AREEA partnered with the Australian government to create the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA). AWRA is implementing numerous strategies and services to increase the number of women in resources.
In addition, AREEA launched its Bright Future STEM Program in 2018. The program seeks to promote female role models in the resources and energy industry, sparking the interest of school-aged girls and ensuring they understand the broad range of opportunities.
A report from the Productivity Commission released in late 2020 estimates that mental ill-health and suicide are costing Australia up to $180 billion per year and treatment and services are not meeting community expectations.
Since 2017, AREEA’s Resources & Energy Mental Health Advisory Board has played a key role in tackling mental health challenges facing the industry.
The Board comprises a range of experience levels across the resources and energy industry, all with a passion for mental health.
One of many focuses for the Board is assisting employers in program development and identifying best practice mental health initiatives.