New Galilee basin mining jobs overestimated

A new report has cast doubt on predicted job numbers for Galilee Basin coal projects, resulting in a complaint being lodged with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission.

The Newman Government has extensively claimed that 27,000 new jobs will be created by four new mines, a figure that has been disputed by economists at The Australia Institute (TAI).

The notorious left-wing think tank said the Queensland Liberal National Party has not quoted any source for the 27,000 jobs figure, nor has it used that estimate in the government’s Galilee Basin Strategy.

TAI claimed only 9280 direct mining jobs would be created by 2030.

Environmental Justice Australia in conjunction with activist organisation Getup! have lodged a complaint with the ACCC that Indian mining giant Adani and the Newman Government have misled the public and investors about the employment benefits of the mine.

TAI executive director Dr Richard Denniss said modelling used by proponents of Galilee Basin coal projects has been described by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as ‘biased’, by the ABS as ‘biased’, the Productivity Commission as ‘abused’ and the NSW Land and Environment Court to be ‘deficient’.

“There are big problems with these models which assume there is unlimited labour in the economy and ignore the negative impacts of large mining projects on other mining projects and other industries like agriculture and manufacturing,” Denniss said.

“The whole justification for this project has been job creation claims, but Queensland politicans are using the claims regardless, backed by TV ads repeating the false figures.”

Denniss said there were other pressures which could affect the future viability of projects like Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

“We’ve recently seen a drop in coal prices and a Galilee basin proponent going into administration,” he said.

“Even as a commercial investment this project is risky, with Macquarie Bank describing the development of the Galilee Basin as ‘ignoring conventional economics’.”

Adani has predicted the Carmichael Project would create 10,000 new jobs in Queensland, with only 3,500 as direct employment within the mining industry.

A spokesman for Adani told that the ACCC complaint was “an increasingly desperate and hysterical activist-driven attempt to deny our state the significant and lasting benefits that projects like Adani’s bring to Queensland”.

“Three days out from an election, we’ve got southerners who aren’t on the ballot paper running an anti-jobs, anti-mining and anti-facts scare campaign for the Greens.”

Author of the report ‘Are there 27,000 jobs in the Galilee Basin?’ Rod Campbell pointed out that indirect job calculations were mathematically certain to overstate the employment impacts of the four new mining projects: Carmichael, Alpha, Kevin’s Corner and China First.

Calculations for indirect employment in the mining industry assumed ‘general equilibrium’ modelling that there would be an infinite amount of skilled labour in the economy, that workers for these projects will not come from other mining projects or other industries, and that wages and other costs faced by these projects and other industries would not change in the region as a result of the projects.

Campbell also showed that growth in the Queensland mining industry had corresponded with a downturn in agricultural employment, and that no additional jobs had been created in the manufacturing sector.

Campbell said the reason manufacturing employment had not changed was that while some parts of the manufacturing industry benefit from mining spending, others were negatively affected due to labour competition.

Claims that the development of the Galilee Basin coal projects will create 27,000 jobs are unfounded,” Campbell said.

“Due to the dubious financial viability of the Galilee Basin projects, even the 9,000 jobs estimate is unlikely to be realised.”

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