Big bucks for region
THE resources sector contributed $526 million to the Wide Bay-Burnett region's economy in the past financial year, according to the Queensland Resources Council's sixth annual economic contribution report.
But spokeswoman of the newly formed Wide Bay Burnett Protection Alliance, Vicki Perrin, said it was a mere drop in the ocean of the Queensland economy.
The report, released yesterday by QRC chief executive Michael Roche with Treasurer Curtis Pitt, shows that the resources sector directly employed 1066 full-time employees in the Wide Bay-Burnett region in 2014-15 while a further 2654 full-time workers were indirectly employed.
When combined, the resources sector provides employment to 3720 full-time employees in Wide Bay-Burnett.
The report showed the sector was responsible directly and indirectly for one in every five dollars in the state's economy and one in every six jobs in Queensland.
"Despite the slump in commodity prices and the 'disrupt and delay' tactics of activist groups, it's heartening to see that a region like Wide Bay-Burnett can still have a significant portion of its workforce employed either directly or indirectly by the resources sector," Mr Roche said.
Ms Perrin said mining in Australia employed less than 2% of our workforce so the idea that we place all our eggs in the mining basket makes no sense at all.
"Mining is known to crowd out other industries, sustainable industries like agriculture and tourism, industries that have been the backbone of our region for many years and could continue to grow," she said.
"Our region has had the mining carrot waved under it's nose for five years now. Where are the jobs?
Ms Perrin said this region was more than a quarry to be exploited by invasive extractive industries.
"Rather than protestor groups, our alliance of groups think of themselves as protectors. All over our country people are waking to the fact that the system that is there to protect us is failing.
"The system is failing our communities, our sustainable industries and our environment.
"Our future lies in sustainable industry, our past in Qld may have been coal, but it is certainly not our future," Ms Perrin said.
"The Queensland resources sector remains a tremendous good news story with a strong, ongoing operational future with our state well placed to supply an energy-hungry Asia which is still on a course of rapid modernisation," Mr Roche said.
He said the $526 million spent in the Wide Bay-Burnett region represented 4% of its gross regional product.
"What this means for the people of Wide Bay-Burnett is $132 million was paid in wages to 1066 full-time employees, with an additional 2654 indirect jobs also supported by resources, while $127 million was spent locally on goods and services and local taxes and charges," he said.
"This spending benefited 530 local businesses while resources companies made contributions that benefited 29 community organisations in the Wide Bay-Burnett region.
"Resources companies operating across Queensland also contributed a total of $2.1 billion to the state government, which was spent on vital services such as schools, roads and hospitals.
Wide Bay-Burnett's input was part of the $64.8 billion contribution by the resources sector to Queensland's economy in 2014-15.