A new Deloitte report has found the mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector has accounted for 15 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP), highlighting its significant contribution to Australia’s economy.
Both sectors support 1.1 million jobs nationwide – around 10 per cent of overall employment.
Although the sector makes a major contribution nationwide, there are particular regions where this is more significant, particularly in Western Australia.
The mining and METS sector accounted for a $37.8 billion economic contribution to WA’s Pilbara region – 88 per cent of total regional economic activity. It also accounted for nearly 94,000 jobs both directly and indirectly in the area.
This is followed by Queensland’s Bowen and Surat region, where the sectors made a $18.6 billion economic contribution (63 per cent of the region’s economic activity) and supported 99,700 jobs.
The sector also made a significant contribution to New South Wales’ Hunter region, accounting for $15.2 billion (34 per cent of total regional economic activity) and supporting 93,600 jobs.
The report also highlighted that a key feature of the mining sector was in its high exports.
During 1969, agriculture dominated Australia’s exports, with minerals and fuel making up 17 per cent. However, this has increased significantly, with minerals and energy exports accounting for 64 per cent of Australia’s exports in 2015-16 due to growing demand in Asia.
The report also focused on METS innovations such as semi-autonomous equipment, drones, data analytics software that have helped increase productivity, safety and yields on mine sites.
It indicated that Australia’s advantage in the mining and METS sector relies not only on innovation, but also on policies that reinforce competition, support skills growth and capital, and for companies to adapt to changing market conditions.
In order to sustain the mining and METS sector in the future, the report highlighted the need for the government to implement a range of initiatives including flexible workplaces, being open to foreign investment, a fair and competitive taxation system and continued support for collaboration between the sector and research groups.