Murky days ahead for the sunshine state

A survey of Queensland mining executives has revealed an ageing workforce and an increased demand for skilled workers will hinder the state's growth in the next decade.

Queensland’s top mining executives believe the state will miss out during the next mining boom as a result of an ageing workforce and an increasing demand for skilled workers.

The executives were surveyed as part of the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) State of the Sector report.

The survey identified the ageing workforce profile and the slow growth in the availability of suitably skilled employees as the industry’s largest hurdles for the next decade.

According to QRC deputy chief executive Greg Lane, Queensland’s traditional trading partners were continuing to rebound from the global financial crisis.

“Queensland’s resources sector will have a battle on its hands to find the right people for an estimated 41,000 new sector jobs by 2020,” he said.

Lane, also the body’s director of skills policy, said the skills shortage issue had risen very sharply in importance since the last quarterly survey was carried out.

“The development of the coal seam gas and liquefied natural gas industries at the levels being proposed will require the direct and indirect employment of more than 18,000 new employees over the next decade,” he said.

“Alongside that, labour force outlook studies indicate the demand for additional workers in the coal, bauxite, copper, lead, zinc and gold sectors will exceed 23,000 by 2020.

“Tradespeople, labourers and intermediate production and transport workers will be the most in demand employees.”

Lane said the Federal Government’s National Resource Sector Employment Taskforce, launched in 2009, was a welcome recognition of the urgent need to have appropriately skilled workers available to the minerals sector.

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