THE Queensland Resources Council has welcomed a $300 million expansion of Sun Metals zinc refinery in Townsville which will create 350 construction jobs and 100 ongoing when complete.

“The city of Townsville will reap the rewards of this investment including through the creation of much-needed jobs,” Quenland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said. 

“It’s another example of resources doing the heavy lifting when it comes to underpinning the economies of regional cities and Townsville will continue to benefit with the recently announced investments into the Galilee Basin.”

Sun Metals has also thanked the State Government for its involvement after Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Korea Zinc officials last month. Korea Zinc is the parent company of Sun Metals.

“I would also like to thank the Palaszczuk Government for its commitment to resources. With stable and reliable regulation Queensland will continue to attract new investment,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Zinc is a key ingredient in alkaline batteries and with Christmas upon us it’s a timely reminder not to forget to buy batteries if your Christmas presents need them and think of the old zinc cream on the nose at the beach.

“Our own data found resources delivered almost $1 billion ($925 million) to the Townsville economy in 2017-18, supported close to 6000 (5996) full time jobs while investing in 878 local businesses and community organisations.”

QRC is the peak representative body for Queensland ‘s resource sector.


RENEWED confidence in the resources sector is translating into an increase in exploration investment across all commodities, with the coal industry enjoying the biggest surge, a new report from the Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) has found.

The annual QEC Exploration Scorecard found coal exploration has increased for the first time since 2011-12, going up by 27 percent.  Mineral exploration expenditure is up by 35 percent, and petroleum exploration expenditure is up by 5 percent. 
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the release of the annual QEC Scorecard capped off a strong year for resources.
“Our resources sector is at the heart of the Queensland economy,” Mr Macfarlane said. "It powers our state, it employs more than 316,000 people and it delivers almost $5 billion in royalty taxes that benefit every Queenslander.

“To ensure ongoing prosperity for all Queenslanders, and to invest in the infrastructure and services our cities and regions need, we must plan for the future now through new discoveries and new projects.”
QEC chair Brad John PSM said the positive sentiment showed Queensland’s resources sector was on a strong footing for the future.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see that this year’s survey showed the highest level of positive sentiment in the industry since the Scorecard began in 2011,” Mr John said.
“For the first time in the Scorecard’s history, explorers were positive about their access to investment capital and sentiment towards policy uncertainty also greatly improved.
“Our industry has worked hard with the Queensland Government’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to improve the exploration permit process and we are now reaping the benefits,” Mr John said.
Mr Macfarlane said the positive results would be welcome news for every Queenslander, both those living in resources heartlands and those who work in Queensland’s biggest mining town – Brisbane.
“Our resources industry has transformed Queensland for the better over the last 25 years, and it is an industry of the future,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We have good grounds to be confident, with The Fraser Institute naming Queensland as the highest ranked jurisdiction in Australia for geological potential, and the third best in the world.
“But we cannot take our success for granted.  The resources industry will continue to work with all levels of Government to deliver the policy and regulatory certainty that is essential for investor confidence and to translate potential into projects.
“Our priorities include identifying new prospects and new land releases, as well as making sure Queensland has the diverse skills base to underwrite our sector.
“Our resources sector continues to innovate, using advanced technology to deliver the best returns to Queensland, the highest standards of environmental sustainability, and to continually increase safety.
“But the most fundamental part of our future resources strength is investment in new prospects.
“We want to give all Queenslanders access to the opportunities of working in the resources sector.
“Resources jobs are high paying jobs.  A recent release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that the mining industry has the highest median weekly wage – at $1950.  And the resources industry is close to parity when it comes to matching the median hourly wage for men and women – there’s a gap of $1.50 or less.
“A strong resources sector means a strong and prosperous Queensland for all of us.”

Click here for Exploration Scorecard.



THE LATEST Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data has underlined the importance of maintaining a strong resources industry to keep driving jobs growth, with the sector now creating more than one job an hour according to Queensland Resources Council  chief executive Ian Macfarlane.

According to the QRC chief executive, the detailed quarterly labour force data showed the number of Queensland resources jobs for the August quarter was up "an incredible 17 percent compared with the same time last year".

“In the space of a year the Queensland mining industry has created an extra 10,000 jobs. That’s the equivalent of a town about the size of Kingaroy, Gracemere or Bowen,” Mr Macfarlane said. 

“Queensland has the highest unemployment rate in Australia at the moment, but investments in the resources sector are doing their part to create jobs and opportunities – especially in regional areas.

“It’s more important than ever that we keep our resources sector strong," he said.

“There is more good news on the horizon for the resources sector, with Queensland’s most valuable export seeing new or reinvigorated projects right across our State so far this year, and we can add to that this week’s progress on the Adani project.

“The resources sector creates good, high paying jobs in every town and city in Queensland. We look forward to working with all levels of Government to continue attracting new investment.

“Our industry needs stable and predictable policy to give it the confidence to invest more, export more and ultimately employ more in the sustainable, competitive and safe development of our coal, minerals, petroleum and gas.”


THERE HAS BEEN another marked decline in the number of Australians migrating between cities and regions, while movement within capital cities is on the rise.

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers, who have analysed Census data, said local moves within capital cities increased by more than five percent on average from 2011 to 2016.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researcher Elin Charles-Edwards suggested the divergence in trends could be a product of declining levels of home ownership, with renters generally more mobile than owner-occupiers. 

“The largest growth was in greater Perth, where local moves increased by 14 percent,” Dr Charles-Edwards said.

“Local moves increased by 10 percent in Sydney and 9.5 percent in Melbourne, while Brisbane was below the national average at three percent. 

“The inner-city construction boom is also contributing to residential mobility as people take the opportunity to live in newer dwellings closer to the city centres.”

Dr Charles-Edwards said longer distance moves between Australian cities and regions had declined by 25 percent since the mid-1990s, likely reflecting prevailing economic conditions.

“For example, internal migration to Queensland has been at historically low levels following the end of the millennium mining boom,” Dr Charles-Edwards said.

“It may also be a result of longer term trends, such as the impact of population ageing, with older people less likely to move than younger people.

“An increase in dual income households could make it more difficult for couples to relocate, while worsening housing affordability is keeping young people in the parental home for longer.

“Temporary forms of mobility, such as fly-in fly-out arrangements for workers, may have also become a substitute for permanent relocation.”
Australia remains one of the most mobile societies in the world, with 39 percent changing their address every five years, compared with a global average of 21 percent.

Dr Charles-Edwards said understanding patterns of internal migration was key to understanding the transformation in the pattern of human settlement.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics study, Population shift: Understanding internal migration in Australia, is authored by Dr Charles-Edwards, emeritus professor Martin Bell, Jim Cooper, and Aude Bernard.


THE FEDERAL Government has committed up to $96 million from its Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) to a project aimed at boosting enrolments in engineering courses at James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville.

The funding is NAIF’s first investment commitment in Queensland and it will be used to develop a Technology Innovation Complex. 

“The Technology Innovation Complex (TIC) will provide contemporary facilities as part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) offering, targeted at engineering students,” Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said. 

“JCU is establishing a focus of engineering for the tropics and the Technology Innovation Complex will be the centrepiece of an ‘innovation hub’ in which undergraduate students, industry partners, post-graduate researchers and start-up businesses will collaborate.

“This is part of a broader plan by JCU to modernise its facilities across the Townsville campus over seven years from now till 2025, and it’s great that a NAIF loan can help facilitate this process and attract more students.

"We also need to attract more young Australians into engineering to support our strong resources sector. We have built our mining sector by harnessing the efforts of some of the world's best engineers trained here in Australia. This new facility will help us repeat that success in the future."

The proposed financial assistance is subject to the finalisation of the Queensland Government’s consideration and agreement for the approved funds to be advanced.

Northern-based Senator Ian Macdonald said he was pleased to see NAIF making a loan commitment that would significantly benefit the economy of North Queensland.

“I am strongly committed to promoting further development in North Queensland and believe this JCU project will attract industry, generate jobs and retain graduates in the region,” Senator Macdonald said.

“It will particularly help JCU attract more regional and international students in engineering, which in turn will boost expertise in a profession so vital to infrastructure development and innovation in Northern Australia and throughout our part of the world.

“The TIC is part of a broader modernisation and building program that JCU tells me will potentially return a public benefit of some $700 million over 30 years, driven by increased participation in higher education and collaboration with industry, so it is terrific the NAIF funding can help generate that sort of benefit.”

Senator Macdonald said he believed that Queensland had regularly had the highest number of active projects in the NAIF pipeline, as well as projects in the advanced ‘due diligence’ phase.

“This is not surprising, considering North Queensland has the highest population and most developed infrastructure in Northern Australia, and I look forward to seeing further investment decisions being announced by NAIF for funding in our region in future.”


AUSTRALIA’s 2018 offshore petroleum exploration areas were released at the annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) Conference in Adelaide recently.

A total of 21 areas have been released for offshore petroleum exploration. They are located in the Bonaparte Basin, Browse Basin, Northern Carnarvon Basin, Bight Basin, Otway Basin and Gippsland Basin. 

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan said the Federal Government’s annual release of offshore petroleum exploration acreage encouraged investment and contributed to the responsible development of Australia’s oil and gas resources.

He said all release areas were supported by industry nominations indicating that interest in exploring offshore Australia’s basins “remains strong” despite the significant decrease in the number of exploration wells drilled in recent years.

In order to attract robust industry participation in the bidding process, the released areas are selected to reflect geological and geographical diversity to cater for the full gamut of petroleum exploration companies.

Mr Canavan said Geoscience Australia continued to support industry activities by acquiring, interpreting and integrating pre-competitive datasets that are made freely available as part of the agency’s regional petroleum geological studies.

The regional evaluation of the petroleum systems in the Browse Basin have been completed and work continues on assessing the distribution of Early Triassic source rocks and related petroleum occurrences across the North West Shelf.


STRONG government support for regional development is more important to Queenslanders compared to other states, while Queenslanders are less likely to feel like they have gained from economic growth and are less satisfied with work, according to results of a nation-wide poll.

The Queensland results are part of a major national poll commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) for its report Community pulse 2018: the economic disconnect.

The CEDA poll explored who has gained from Australia’s record run of economic growth; their most important issues personally and to the nation; and attitudes to work.

CEDA chief executive Melinda Cilento said the Queensland results, in line with the national results, showed the state placed a high level of importance on government services, in addition to being focused on regional growth and jobs. 

“Overall Queensland respondents were more likely to feel like they have not gained, or don’t know if they have gained, from Australia’s record run of economic growth compared to national results – 59 percent compared to 55 percent nationally,” Ms Cilento said.

“Unemployment and youth unemployment are both higher in Queensland than nationally and slightly higher again in regional areas.

“This is no doubt one of the factors impacting on how Queenslanders feel about the economy and their current circumstances.

“In addition, regional growth and jobs are an important contributor for the state with a higher proportion of jobs based outside the capital city than in other states,” Ms Cilento said.

“There are almost 2.5 million people employed in Queensland and around half of those are outside the greater Brisbane area. It is therefore unsurprising that government support for regional development is ranked as more important in the issues of personal importance.

“Despite 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth many Australians are telling us through this survey that they don’t feel like that are getting ahead, and that feeling is stronger in Queensland.

“Stagnant wages and cost of living pressures are likely factors but regardless, we need to do better at connecting communities’ expectations and aspirations with economic benefits,” she said.

“This will ensure there is support for the economic development and reform needed to keep Australia competitive.On the job front Queenslanders are less satisfied with their current level of pay, benefits such as superannuation, level of job training and conditions in the workplace.

“When looking for a job, consistent with national trends, conditions in the workplace was the most important factor.

“However, Queenslanders are more interested in progressing in their careers. Opportunities for career progression was much more likely to be ranked as very important by Queensland respondents (55 per cent compared to 42 per cent nationally).”

On the national issues of greatest importance, Ms Cilento said Queenslanders were in line with the national results placing greatest importance on high quality and accessible public hospitals; strong regulation to limit foreign ownership of Australian land and assets; increased pension payments; high quality and choice of aged care services; and high quality and accessible public schools.

“The top personal issues in Queensland, in addition to regional development, aligned nationally with reliable, low cost basic health services; reliable, low cost essential services; access to stable and affordable housing; affordable, high quality chronic disease services; and reduced violence in homes and communities, rating as of high importance,” Ms Cilento said.

“Much like the other states, the expectation that government should provide the services fundamental to the quality of life in Australia remains strong.

“Interestingly one of the areas of least importance was commuting times. Nationally this ranked as of low importance but in Queensland it was even less important compared to the national ranking.”


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