Australian mining employment declines: ABS

Skilled workers

The number of mining employees in Australia has dropped, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)’s latest quarterly data on labour forces.

Mining industry employment for the three months to February 2021 declined to 249,600 workers compared with 264,000 in the November 2020 quarter.

However, year-on-year results show an improvement of 4.29 per cent, up from 239,100 employees in the three months to February 2020.

The federal government launched its national resources workforce strategy earlier this year to boost the skills needed for future jobs in the resources sector.

Federal Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said COVID-19 showcased the importance of the resources sector in Australia.

“The resources sector has been a standout through the global COVID-19 pandemic,” Pitt said last month.

“There are opportunities across both cities and regions with employees working in high-vis, lab coats and office spaces. This strategy supports Australians to get the skills needed to take up these jobs.

“We particularly want to ensure people living in regional communities have opportunities to study, train and upskill to take up these jobs.”

The total number of mining employees in New South Wales declined by 10.5 per cent to 34,900 jobs in the ABS February 2021 quarter.

Mining jobs also declined in Western Australia by 5.8 per cent (110,300) and in Queensland by 1.78 per cent to 76,900.

While Western Australia’s year-on-year mining employment remained relatively unchanged with a 0.72 per cent decrease, Queensland improved by 16.5 per cent.

South Australia bounced back in the three months to February 2021, recording 11,700 mining workers compared with 9500 in the three months to November 2020.

In March, the federal government announced a one-year extension to its Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program.

The extension aims to add to the 8836 apprentices and trainees employed by the mining industry.

“The success of Australia’s resources sector and its ability to keep backing Australia’s regional communities depends on a highly skilled workforce which includes traditional and emerging trades,” Minerals Council of Australia chief executive officer Tania Constable said.

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