Queensland resources sector develops as a hydrogen and jobs hot spot
THE Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) latest State of the Sector report highlights the continuing adaptability and resilience of the state’s $82.6 billion resources industry, in spite of the impact of the global pandemic, chief executive Ian Macfarlane said today.
Mr Macfarlane said a survey of QRC member company CEOs in February 2021 showed resources companies were actively looking at new technologies such as hydrogen to reduce emissions and grow their business in a sustainable way.
“More than two-thirds of the CEOs surveyed said they were thinking about hydrogen-related opportunities, and 10 percent are already committed to projects involving hydrogen,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“In a clear sign hydrogen will play a role in Queensland’s response to the global challenge of climate change, 33 percent of CEOs believe hydrogen will provide an opportunity to reduce emissions in their own business, and a further 33 percent see hydrogen as an opportunity for growth.
“The resources sector’s interest in hydrogen supports Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to appoint a dedicated Hydrogen Industry Development Minister, Mick de Brenni following the state election last year.
“I’m also pleased to have been invited by Minister de Brenni to serve on the Ministerial Energy Council, which provides the resources sector with an opportunity to engage with the government and other stakeholders in the critical area of energy policy.”
Mr Macfarlane said Australian Bureau of Statistics’ figures showed Queensland mining and gas jobs increased by 15 percent over the 12 months to February 2021, indicating the number of jobs supported by the resources sector is now well over 420,000.
“Even better, 24 percent of the CEOs who responded to our survey said they planned to increase employment at their Queensland operations over the next 12 months, with half expecting to increase their workforce by more than 25 percent,” he said.
“This response from our CEOs is a huge vote of confidence in the resources sector which benefits every Queenslander through a stronger state economy and more jobs.”
Mr Macfarlane said maintaining a ‘people first’ approach to COVID-19 and following Chief Health Officer protocols has helped keep Queensland communities safe and allowed the resources sector to keep working, earning and employing its way through the pandemic.
“Resources companies are now also looking at how to best support the government’s state-wide vaccine roll-out to ensure people living and working in regional communities are vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.
Three quarters of member CEOs who responded to the QRC survey said they would consider providing employees with information about vaccination benefits and risks; two-thirds would arrange for employees to be vaccinated voluntarily during work hours; and almost one in 10 said they would consider incentivising employees to be vaccinated voluntarily.
For the sixth consecutive quarter, the QRC report found the number one area of concern keeping CEOs awake at night was the volatility of the global economy.
Sharing equal second place was concern about poor regulation including regulatory uncertainty, and problems raising capital, with the link between the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of companies and their ability to capital-raise consistently raised as a major issue.