The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the Productivity Commission’s initial report on transitioning regional economies. The report confirms that Australian regions continue to benefit substantially from the resources sector and refutes the notion that the Australian economy is transitioning away from mining. It also notes that the large resource base of many resource regions, combined with the expansion of capacity generated during the mining investment boom, are likely to provide economic and employment opportunities for decades to come.
The Productivity Commission makes a number of critical findings that should inform policymakers at all levels of government:
- Most resource regions have high adaptive capacity and are continuing to grow in terms of employment, population and value of production
- Regions whose base is large-scale mining have generally had the highest employment growth
- Total employment in mining is more than double what it was before the mining boom
- Average wages are generally higher (and have grown faster) in mining-intensive regions than in other parts of the country
- Labour mobility allows the mining industry to support many workers who do not live in mining regions, thereby spreading the income and employment benefits of mining well beyond where resource extraction occurs Fewer than five mining areas are classified in the least adaptive category, and all of them are located in remote and sparsely populated areas
- The economic and employment benefits of mining are not limited to particular phases of the commodity cycle, but are sustainable in the longer term.