REVEALED: How much region made out of gas boom
A NEW report has revealed the extent of the financial boost to wages and local businesses during the biggest boom the region has ever seen.
Analysis by Lawrence Consulting found the natural gas industry contributed about $55 billion to Queensland's economy between 2011-18.
The Economic Impact of Queensland's Petroleum and Gas Sector 2011-18 Report, commissioned by gas industry body APPEA, found almost $5 billion was spent on wages within the sector statewide, including $352.8 million in the Gladstone state electoral area.
It found on average during the seven years of the 10,288 full-time gas sector employees in Gladstone, 344 were residents.
It estimated about 167 Gladstone businesses were directly supported, with $6 million spent on business purchases, community and Local Government payments in the region.
Annual spending statewide was at its peak of $13.3 million in 2013-14, during the construction of the Curtis Island liquefied natural gas plants.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the construction boom involving the three $80-billion Curtis Island LNG plants was "unprecedented".
"Obviously we've known that as well as the boom we've also had the downturn," Mr Butcher said.
"Now is the time that those small-to-medium businesses need to start focusing on those contracts with those gas companies that involves ongoing maintenance."
Pointing to the finding that an average of 344 workers were living in Gladstone, Mr Butcher said it was necessary to have a fly-in-fly-out workforce. He said anecdotally, about a third of workforce at its peak of 15,000 were locals.
"Because the construction phase was so big, they had to (have a FIFO workforce)," he said.
"I don't know too many people who had a trade and were keen to work there and were knocked back.
"Some people made the decision to stay at other sites, like QAL or Yarwun or BSL instead of chasing the island work."
In the Fitzroy region, which includes Rockhampton, Gladstone, Banana and Central Highlands - gas sector workers had an average salary of $163,870, the report found.
During that year the workforce also peaked with 6100 direct employees living in Queensland.
APPEA Queensland director Gregory Mayo said the study showed how vital the natural gas sector was for Queensland, given the reporting period also included a major downturn in the mining sector.
"The natural gas industry has propped up Queensland during a particularly tough time and it will continue to be a pillar of the economy for many decades to come," Mr Mayo said.
"Natural gas has also provided a huge boost to regional centres."
The analysis used data from Queensland Resources Council's annual expenditure data survey which included employee salaries and wages, voluntary community contributions, goods and services expenditure and local and state government payments.