Qld miners concerned about skills and rising costs - report

27th September 2023 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

Qld miners concerned about skills and rising costs - report

Photo by: Bloomberg

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Skilled worker shortages, government policy settings, rising costs and global economic conditions are among the main concerns for Queensland resources companies, according to a report by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said the industry body’s latest State of the Sector survey of company CEOs reveals a number of key obstacles stand in the way of Queensland capitalising on emerging opportunities from the global push to a lower emissions future.

“The world is looking to Queensland, amongst other countries, to meet surging demand for critical minerals like copper and nickel to build the batteries, solar panels and electrical vehicles of the future, which will be central to achieving ambitious decarbonisation targets,” Macfarlane said.

“To meet global demand, however, significant new investment is required in Queensland, but right now, that’s under a cloud because of recent, sudden changes in economic policy.

“At the same time, member company CEOs are reporting increasing concerns over rising costs and global economic conditions are impacting business confidence. That’s why all levels of government need to do what they can to actively encourage the next wave of resources investment to keep the Queensland economy strong.

“Instead, we’ve seen the opposite, with the state government’s decision to impose the world’s highest coal royalty tax rate adding to companies’ rising costs and threatening future investment in Queensland projects,” Macfarlane said.

“Amid heightened concerns about the global economic outlook, a better approach would be for Queensland to offer stable and consistent policy settings to attract long-term investors in a competitive market, both in Australia and internationally.”

While resources CEOs say the move to a lower emissions future will create opportunities for growth, the QRC report identified the skilled worker shortage as a growing concern for companies.

“More than half of CEOs say the move to automation and digitalisation will mean more jobs, however, 95% say a shortage of skilled workers will affect productivity and profitability,” Macfarlane said.

“With demand for graduates in science, technology, engineering and maths-related degrees forecast to increase by 25% over the next five years, one positive is that companies are individually taking action to attract and retain workers.

“It’s encouraging to see the industry taking action where it can to support new opportunities for all Queenslanders from the growing global market for our new and traditional minerals,” Macfarlane said.

“However, as this report reaffirms, there is an urgent need for the Queensland government to improve its policy settings so the resources sector can continue to drive the job opportunities and economic success that benefits every Queenslander.”