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Queensland resources companies aiming to tackle state’s unemployment rate

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World Coal,

A sustained lift in global commodity prices and record production has Queensland’s resources companies planning to increase employment and help drive down the State’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, said the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

In the QRC’s latest State of the Sector report, 52% of resources chiefs said they would increase employment over the next quarter with 13% looking to increase employment ‘substantially.’

Speaking at the Mines and Money Conference in Brisbane, QRC Chief Executive, Ian Macfarlane, said the report was a jobs story and a timely one for the State’s economy with the unemployment rate hovering above 6% – one of the highest in the nation.

“It demonstrates the sectors’ willingness and ability to drive stronger employment growth in the economy especially in the regions where unemployment can be in the double digits,” he said.

“For example, the Treasurer Jackie Trad mentioned the Mackay region as having the lowest unemployment rate in Queensland at 3.8% in her Budget speech. Mackay is a key service centre to the coal-rich Bowen Basin and the resources sector supported 50% of the jobs in the Mackay region last financial year,” Macfarlane added.

The report found the resources sector reached two new production records: Value of Production Index increased by 35% to AUS$22.14 billion over the quarter, and the Production Index lifted by 6%, driven by coal exports up 30% and lead which gained 39% in the quarter.

While commodity prices were strong over the three months regulatory costs and attracting skilled labour were ongoing concerns for the sector.

The Queensland resources sector now provides one in every AUS$6 dollars in the Queensland economy, sustains one in eight Queensland jobs, and supports more than 16 400 businesses across the State – with almost 7000 businesses in the Greater Brisbane region – all from 0.1% of Queensland’s land mass.

Macfarlane said the record production results helped deliver $4.3 billion to the State Government’s Budget, adding: “While the Government is undertaking a State-wide tour to promote the regional benefits of the State Budget, it’s important to recognise the contribution the resources sector and the 282 000 men and women working in it are making to the Government’s commitment to infrastructure and services.”

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