The mining industry's fetish for cutting jobs

AUSTRALIA'S resources industry has a fetish for cutting at the moment: cutting workers, costs, offices and cutting investment.

But for all the crying poor, the industry - including gas, oil, coal and iron ore - could deliver more than 130,000 jobs across the country by 2025.

Up to 40,000 of those could be in Queensland.

This green shoot will be of fleeting solace to any of the almost 4000 thought to have lost their jobs in the Queensland mining industry in the final six months of last year.

It may also be cold comfort for the next 1000 expected to lose their jobs this year if surveys done by the Queensland Resources Council stack up and it appears they do.

In early March, Swiss powerhouse Xstrata sliced 100 office jobs by shutting down its Brisbane base.

Thankfully, towers of research tell us all is not lost.



A flood of figures and data from the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency - the dryly named replacement for Skills Australia - suggest even if the world crumbled into economic ruin, mining jobs would still increase by a few thousand.

With 217,700 already in the industry, those are good numbers.

Best case scenario is that figure increases by 132,400.

Somewhere in between the perfect world and its destruction, there would be between 76,800 and 110,000 new jobs.

Hard to believe given the gloom that haunts any talk of the mining industry, but easier to stomach when considering there are 100 projects planned for Queensland alone.

As Skills Queensland puts it, "While not all of these projects will proceed, it is expected that there will be an increased level of demand for different skills and occupations over the next five years or so".

These include up to 25,000 jobs ready to be unearthed in the emerging Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton, and 18,000 in the budding coal seam gas industry.

Meanwhile, New South Wales has effectively fought off enthusiastic overtures from the coal seam gas industry not just in the state's north east but in its central west - in the Gunnedah Basin west of Coffs Harbour - where at least three or four projects will likely face lengthy delays.

Coal exports for both energy and steel-making will grow for the next five years but minus the crazy "boom" spikes of 2008 and 2011.

Exports to India and China will overtake those to Japan for coal, shifting the role played by what was Australia's biggest coal buyer.

Hopefully, this will wear away the industry's need to cut, and bring out a desire to build.

Topics:  csg job cuts lng mining unemployment

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