Coal: The Jobs and Economy Myth

The Victorian Government and the coal industry often argue that new and existing coal projects will create jobs and contribute large amounts of money to our economy. However, studies show that expanding the coal industry will actually be detrimental to our economy.

The current mining boom has already pushed up Australia’s exchange rate dramatically, which has cause significant damage to tourism, tertiary education, manufacturing, agriculture and other clean export industries. These industries employ vastly more people in far more widely disperses locations than coal mining.

Expansion of coal mining in Australia will result in fully blown Dutch disease  and will only further damage our economy. A report by The Australia Institute showed that the faster the expansion of the mining industry, the lower the level of employment in other industries will be.

Australia Institute researcher Mark Ogge has said:

Consultants for Clive Palmer’s China First coal mine in the Galilee basin estimated, in the company’s EIS, that this effect of driving up labor costs would mean 3,000 jobs will be lost in other parts of the economy, with manufacturing being the hardest hit.

The same study shows that shows that public perceptions of the size and significance of the mining industry to the Australian economy are extremely different from the reality. When asked what percentage of workers they believe were employed in the mining industry, the average response was around 16 per cent, when according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the actual figure is 1.9 per cent. The study also found Australians believe that mining accounts for more than one third (35%) of economic activity. However ABS figures show that the mining industry accounts for around 9.2 per cent of GDP – about the same as manufacturing.  And perhaps most shocking is the finding of the report that 83 per cent of the mining industry’s profits are being sent offshore.

As said in the report;

The mining industry likes to portray itself as a big employer, a big taxpayer and a big money-maker for Australian shareholders, but the reality just doesn’t match the rhetoric.

If the government continues to invest in coal mining in Victoria and Australia, we will be actively harming our economy and causing job losses.

For more info read The Australia Institute’s, Mining the Truth report here.