Mining, energy industries eye jobs bonanza

A jobs bonanza is expected in the resources and energy sectors over the next five years.
A jobs bonanza is expected in the resources and energy sectors over the next five years.

More than 24,000 jobs could be created across almost 100 mining, oil and gas projects likely to start over the next five years.

Resources and energy employer group AMMA has detailed the jobs bonanza in a groundbreaking report analysing federal government major projects data.

Based on 98 projects worth a combined $84 billion considered likely to proceed, the 22 linked to coal will be the largest driver of growth, with around 8000 new production jobs.

Nine iron ore projects could lead to 5000 jobs, the report predicts.

There are 20 gold mining projects considered likely to start by 2026 and 14 in gas and petroleum.

AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said the forecast of 24,400 new operational-phase employees was highly conservative.

"It only factors in projects either already committed or very close to receiving final investment decision," he said.

"When considering the construction workforces required to build these projects and the flow-on effects throughout the supply chain, it's reasonable to expect the true impacts of this investment pipeline to be well over 50,000 jobs."

Forecast mining occupations include 9233 plant operators, 3014 heavy diesel fitters and 4484 engineers, geologists and other technical roles.

Oil and gas occupations include 952 trade technicians, 532 production technicians and operators and 487 management and supervisory roles.

AMMA is hoping its report helps government to determine emerging skill shortages and inform people about career opportunities.

Under the projections, Australia's direct resources and energy workforce would grow more than 10 per cent, propelling the industries past 260,000 employees for the first time since February 2014.

The Morrison government last week introduced a bill to parliament which would allow more eight-year enterprise agreements on major projects.

Mr Knott said the proposed changes to greenfields agreements would offer stable industrial arrangements for the length of major construction phases.

"This simple improvement will make a massive difference to getting the $84 billion worth of advanced projects, and their potential to bring more than 24,400 new jobs, over the line," he said.

Unions have criticised the threshold of $250 million, arguing greenfields deals should only be for major resources projects worth more than $5 billion.

The ACTU is concerned workers' right to strike and take other industrial action could be hampered on smaller sites like hospitals.

An additional 192 projects, worth around 35,000 jobs, are listed as being early in feasibility stages and not included in the report.

Australian Associated Press