The number one threat to the future viability of Queensland’s resources sector has been identified and, according to the Queensland Resources Council, it’s not what you’d think.
What’s concerning mining industry CEOs most right now is a shortage of skilled workers to fill local jobs, according to the council’s latest State of the Sector report.
QRC Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, said the report for the June 2021 quarter, released today (21 September) shows a combination of Covid-related border restrictions, less skilled migration and interstate competition for workers has created a perfect storm of labour shortages at a time of continued growth across the sector.
Increased demand for key Qld commodities
He added that the Minerals Council of Australia’s latest Commodity Demand Outlook 2030 report had forecast increased demand for key Queensland commodities out to 2030.
“This is supported by Queensland Treasury’s most recent forward estimates that show coal export volumes are predicted to rise by 23 percent out to 2024-25,” Macfarlane said.
“Treasury is also anticipating a broadening of the resources sector due to increasing demand for Queensland’s critical minerals and rare earths used in the production of emerging technologies.”
According to Macfarlane, mining leaders have become increasingly concerned over the past 12 months about attracting and retaining enough skilled employees to support industry growth, with the issue jumping from number 12 on the list to number one in the latest CEO sentiment survey.
Jobs in sector have increased significantly
“The number of jobs in our sector in Queensland has increased by more than two-thirds over the past five years to reach a record high of almost 85,000 earlier this year,” he said.
“This growth in resources jobs, which has surged since Covid, is around six times the relative growth experienced across the rest of Queensland’s workforce over the same five-year period.
“Looking forward, jobs growth over the next five years is likely to continue due to increasing global demand for traditional resources like coal, base metals and gas – plus the growing demand for new economy minerals such as cobalt, graphite, vanadium and rare earths which are being used to build everything from microchips to electric vehicles.”
He said this demand would create a growing and increasingly diverse pipeline of jobs for Queenslanders, with the National Skills Commission projecting employment in the sector would grow by a further 8 percent to 2025.