Queensland will require 6240 new resources and energy employees in the next six years, driven by 20 major projects, a new report shows.
Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast (2021-2026) details the operational labour demand required for new mining and oil and gas projects scheduled for completion between 2021 and 2026.
Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA said the forecasting report showed a huge pipeline of job-creating projects worth $84 billion across Australia, expected to generate more than 24,000 jobs.
This represents 10 per cent growth in direct resource sector employment over the next six years, exceeding 260,000 employees for the first time since February 2014.
Forecast mining occupations include 9,233 plant operators, 3,014 heavy diesel fitters and 4,484 engineers, geologists and other technical roles.
Forecast oil and gas occupations include 952 trade technicians, 532 production technicians / operators and 487 management and supervisory roles.
“The Department of Industry’s recent major projects report noted investment in the resources and energy industry has entered a new growth cycle,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.
“AMMA’s new workforce report shows what this growth cycle could mean for employment in Australia’s resources and energy industry, and what occupations will be in highest demand.
“This forecast for over 24,400 new operational-phase employees is highly conservative. It only factors in projects either already committed or very close to receiving final investment decision.
“When considering the construction workforces required to build these projects and the flow-on effects throughout the supply chain, it’s reasonable to expect the true impacts of this investment pipeline to be well over 50,000 jobs.”
Coal dominates the major Queensland projects due to come online – which include the Carmichael coal project, Olive Downs, Ironbark No.1, Belview, Eagle Downs, Winchester South, Baralaba South, Isaac Plains expansion, Wilton-Fairhill, and Valeria.
The 10 coal projects advanced in the development pipeline (eight of which are new projects), account for 74 per cent of the state’s total forecast new workforce demand to 2026 (4640 direct employees).
Copper Mountain Mining’s Eva copper project in North-West Queensland is also included in the projection, along with the expansion project underway at Ravenswood Gold, the Mount Morgan tailings project, further work at Mount Carlton and Mount Carbine, Sconi and the Sun Metals zinc refinery expansion.
In gas, it included and Arrow Energy’s Surat Gas Project, Tipton and Roma North.
The AMMA says that while current forecast growth is modest, Queensland has huge potential – possibly 22,000 new jobs – sitting with about 51 projects in earlier stages of development.
Predominantly coal, these projects tentatively await further feasibility studies and/or an uptick in investor confidence.
Mr Knott said the data in the Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast (2021-2026) showed the huge opportunity for Australia’s resources and energy industry to lead the country’s economy and labour market out of the COVID-19 recession.
“But the industry needs long overdue regulatory reform to assist in securing these opportunities,” he said.
“Last week the Productivity Commission released its Resources Sector Regulation report identifying a range of areas where regulatory processes can be streamlined and unnecessary barriers to investment removed.
“The Federal Government also introduced into Parliament an industrial relations reform bill containing a number of hugely beneficial, job-creating improvements to Australia’s employment laws.
“The most obvious reform of huge benefit to future major resources and energy projects is that of Project Life Greenfields Agreements, offering stable industrial relations arrangements for the full length of a major project construction phase.
“The importance of this reform to securing final investment decision on new major projects cannot be overstated. This simple improvement will make a massive difference to getting the $84 billion worth of advanced projects, and their potential to bring more than 24,400 new jobs, over the line.
“It will also work wonders for the 197 additional major resources and energy projects in Australia’s investment pipeline considered too early in development stages for inclusion in AMMA’s new report.”
Queensland’s resources and energy industry directly employed 63,700 people at August 2020, representing 26.5 per cent of the industry’s national workforce.