Mining supporting Sydney

The NSW Minerals Council has released new data showing the mining boom lifting not just WA, but also NSW.

According to figures from a survey of NSW mining companies, at least 3800 Sydney businesses directly supply the mining industry.

NSWMC say this data is part of its wider education initiative designed to show the industry's contribution to the state.

"When most of us think about mining we envisage people working in regional NSW but there are more than 7000 workers directly employed in mining across Sydney," NSWMC chief Stephen Galilee said,

"Mining is the fastest growing industry for jobs in NSW, having more than doubled its workforce in the past four years to almost 50 000. As mining grows, so too will opportunities for the services and manufacturing sector in Sydney and regional NSW."

Despite this growth, a recent survey of more than 1000 Australian workers conducted by Ferret.com.au – an online business directory servicing the Australian mining, industrial and manufacturing sectors – showed close to 73% of Australian workers in the mining, industrial and construction sectors have expressed their concern about the widening gap between the two-speed economy, Manufacturers Monthly reports.

Dom Weatherhead, account manager for Ferret.com.au said “this was one of the most significant responses when it came to addressing concerns and issues regarding the mining, industrial and manufacturing sectors. It shows that confidence really isn’t all that high at the moment”.

In addition to growing concerns about the Australian two-speed economy, was the belief that the mining boom is causing a skills shortage in Australian businesses that are outside of the mining sector. However, those surveyed also expressed concern about a skills shortage in the mining sector, with just over 50% believing the shortage does exist.

“Just over 51% of those surveyed expressed concern for skills shortages occurring in sectors like manufacturing and retail due to the mining boom, but almost the same amount of those surveyed expressed concerns about a shortage of skills in the mining sector as well (and its knock-on affect),” Weatherhead said.

"Mining in NSW does not operate in a vacuum," Galilee added.

The mining and carbon taxes are also expected to hit the resources industry hard, exacerbating this skills problem.

"These new taxes and increasingly complex regulation could have a direct and lasting impact on employment," Galilee said.

To highlight the mining industry's contribution to the state, the NSWMC has created a new website – World Class Miners – to demonstrate the sector's importance.

"We're not perfect and we are always striving to do better, but our people are incredible and a lot of what they do leads the world," Galilee explained.

He went on to say that while "mining does have an impact on the environment it is our job to keep it to a minimum and we are innovating to make sure we do.

"Whether it's keeping our water usage down through recycling or improving our techniques to rehabilitate land after mining or to minimise dust."

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