Australian mining employment on the rise: ABS

Skilled workers

Employment in Australia’s mining industry has hit a nine-year high, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) latest quarterly data on labour forces.

Figures show 270,000 people were employed in mining either full-time or part-time for the May quarter of 2021.

This figure was up 8.26 per cent on the number to February 2021, as 20,600 extra workers were added to the industry.

The last time the mining sector employed more than 270,000 people was August 2012.

The ABS compared current mining employees to their sector of employment back in February 2021 and found that 16.6 per cent had recently been welcomed from a different industry.

Queensland saw the highest increase in mining employees of any state, up 8100 to 84,900, and Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the figures were important for more than just those directly employed in the industry.

“This is great news for the Queensland economy and for all the direct and indirect jobs that flow on from these extra mining jobs,” Macfarlane said.

He said the QRC would work to take advantage of the peak in employment.

“That’s why the State Government’s resources industry development plan is so important to get right, because Queensland has an opportunity to be a global energy superpower if we plan well for the future,” Macfarlane said.

“We will continue to work in close partnership with key government agencies to develop a road map for a sustainable resource future that benefits all Queenslanders.”

Victoria saw the highest percentage jump on its previous tally, up 52 per cent (3800 employees) from February, while South Australia recorded its highest total since November 2014, with a 32 per cent jump to 15,600 mining employees.

The smallest increase was in Western Australia, as employment in the mining state grew by just 2400, or 2.12 per cent.

Despite the small growth, Western Australian mining employment was still down on November 2020’s results by 5200 people (4.63 per cent).

The stagnation in Western Australia came as a skills shortage was forecast over the next two years for the resources sector.

The state government had campaigned to permanently relocate fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers, before the federal government made its own attempt to welcome skilled workers from overseas.

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