Simon Trott Opinion: As other sectors slow, mining keeps economy ticking over

Article by Simon Trott courtesy of the West Australian.

The national accounts released last week reflect the considerable contribution Australia’s mining sector makes to our economy.

While overall economic growth in Australia slowed to 0.2 per cent in the December quarter, the mining industry continued to grow, with its gross value increasing by 1 per cent, according to ABS data. This was largely driven by a 1.9 per cent increase in Australia’s production of iron ore in the quarter.

The growth of the mining sector contributed more than half of the growth in Australia’s GDP in the last quarter.

At a time when economic growth is slowing, and household budgets remain under intense pressure from inflation and interest rates, this contribution provides much-needed support for the economy and the Australian people.

To put this data in real terms, it means jobs for Australians, it means contracts for local suppliers, it means ongoing investment in some of Australia’s most remote communities, and it means an increased contribution to government coffers through taxes and royalties. This provides revenue for governments to invest in critical infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads and important social support like investment in NDIS and aged care.

According to the Minerals Council of Australia, the mining industry directly employs 288,000 people. Over the past 14 years, it has paid $295 billion in taxes and royalties and comprises more than 60 per cent of export income.

Looking forward, we have big plans to bolster this even further through new projects to help feed the world’s growing demand for the raw materials needed for the energy transition.

It’s important to acknowledge that Australia’s world-class mining industry has been built on the hard work of hundreds and thousands of Australians over generations, sound policy decisions, and incredible local innovations that have made the industry safer and more productive.

And just as those generations grasped the opportunity in front of them, we now have a similar opportunity to ensure our future success.

he reshaping of the world’s economies and the transition to a lower-carbon world will require massive amounts of commodities and renewable energy. Australia is blessed with both, and our mining industry is the envy of the world.

It’s critically important for Australia’s long-term prosperity that we remain globally competitive, retain access to international markets, and ensure that our industry continues to adapt to modern mining practices that are more compatible with society’s expectations. This will require good policy, strong leadership, and innovation.

Without the right policy settings, the mining industry’s future contributions to the Australian economy are at risk.

If we collectively rise to meet these challenges, we will seize the opportunity and secure prosperity for current and future generations.

Should we achieve this, the best is yet to come.