Half of mining companies plan to reduce interstate FIFO
A NEW report has found almost half of Queensland resource companies planned to decrease interstate worker use in coming years.
The State of the Sector June quarter report found the sector's mostly Queensland-based workforce helped it to mitigate the border impacts of COVID-19.
Queensland exported a record 22.1 million tonnes of LNG across the year - or 2 per cent above the 21.6 million tonnes in 2018-19.
Coal exports also maintained their strength at 220 million tonnes in 2019-20 - less than 3 per cent shy of their 2018-19 export record.
The use of mostly Queensland workforces meant most workers lived far away from major COVID clusters and the necessary border closures did not affect them.
The report said some specialist skills and experts could only be accessed from interstate, but those instances were a small minority.
In this quarter's Queensland Resources Council member CEO survey, almost half of CEOs (42 per cent) said they did not rely on interstate residents in their workforce before COVID.
For those CEOs that did, on average, interstate residents made up 13 per cent of their workforce.
Speaking in Mackay on Wednesday, QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the report found 43 per cent of resource companies were planning to decrease their use of interstate workers in the long term.
"This is welcome news for Mackay and will lead to more jobs in the resources sector as the state's economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19," Mr Macfarlane said.
"The resources industry already contributes $6.7 billion to Mackay's economy, supports 30,055 full-time jobs and invests $3.5 billion dollars with local businesses and community organisations, so is an important part of this region's prosperity."
Mr Macfarlane said the report proved the resources industry was an economic life raft for Queensland, with more than 80 per cent, or $63 billion, of Queensland's exports over the past 12 months coming directly from the sector.
"This represents $12,000 of export sales for every man, woman and child in Queensland," he said.
"This is a result more than 370,000 Queensland resource sector workers can be very proud of and is something we don't want the government or the community to take for granted."
Mr Macfarlane said the report found State Government red tape was a major headwind facing the sector, with some projects waiting more than a decade for approval.
"We're calling for the government to introduce a more streamlined assessment process for new projects and to manage the expansion of existing projects, coupled with a streamlined, best practice regulatory framework in which to operate," he said.
Mr Macfarlane has also called on the State Government to commit to 10 years of royalty stability to improve Queensland's reputation as a stable and attractive investment destination.
"Business as usual post-COVID is simply not going to cut it," he said.
"We want the Queensland Government to stimulate new projects, new investments and new markets by getting behind the resources industry, because that's what will lead to new jobs and better long-term economic stability for every Queenslander."
Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government did support the resources sector for the royalties and jobs it generated, particularly in regional Queensland.
He said the government had invested or committed $20 billion to resources projects and created 7000 jobs.
"As part of our economic plan for recovery, we have a $10 million four-year booster pack of grants to supercharge exploration and to drive future resources jobs," he said.
"Government, health authorities and the resources sector have worked closely together through the pandemic to maintain the sector's important operations and protect the health and safety of workers and the communities in which they live and work.
"This collaboration has allowed the sector to continue to operate safely, providing jobs and ongoing business in regional communities.
"The New Acland Stage 3 project has received significant community interest and has a protracted legal history.
"The government's position on the New Acland Coal Mine expansion has been consistent since our commitment before the 2017 election: to accept the decision of the courts.
"We will await the outcome of the High Court processes before finalising the remaining approvals for this project."
The QRC's State of the Sector report is based on feedback received from mining, energy, minerals processing, contracting, exploration, electricity generation and oil and gas extraction business leaders between July and August.