PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Australia’s state, territory and national resources ministers have agreed that the resources sector is essential to maintain a strong Australian economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a communiqué from the Council of Australian Governments, the national resources ministers noted the need for a coordinated national approach to manage the impacts of Covid-19.
“Ministers recognise that maintaining a strong resources sector will be critical to ensuring that communities and the wider Australian economy is well positioned to bounce back when the global economy recovers from the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the communique read.
The resources sector nationally produces nearly 75% of Australia’s exports and directly employs nearly 250 000 workers, while supporting nearly a million more workers who are employed in the broader resources supply chain.
Despite the impact of the Covid-19, Australia’s resources and energy exports are on track to reach nearly A$300-billion this financial year.
Meanwhile, the Queensland government on Thursday urged mining companies in the state to step-up their coronavirus protections for fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers, staff in mining camps and remote and regional resource communities.
“Public safety is our number one priority and we need everyone in the community, in business and in industry to play their part,” Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said.
“That’s why the Queensland government has been discussing FIFO with resources companies for more than a week, and I’ve also been talking to the Federal Resources Minister.
“Resource companies have been engaging with the Queensland and Federal Government and are alert to these issues.
“We expect that all companies will continue to improve their operations and constructively engage with stakeholders, including workers and the local councils.”
Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said that the industry had committed to a 'people first' response to the detection of the novel coronavirus Covid-19 and a strict adherence to the advice of health authorities.
“We have worked with the industry across the country to develop national protocols to protect our staff, our families, our suppliers, our communities, our State, and our nation,” Macfarlane said.
“For an industry that supported one in every seven jobs in Queensland before the coronavirus, we know the responsibility of keeping those 372 000 workers safe and protecting the safety of all Queenslanders.”