Contribution to the Economy
The coal industry plays a vital role in Australia’s economy, energy security and community. It is Australia’s largest export earner (valued at $55 billion in 2008-09) and employs around 140,000 Australians – 40,000 directly and 100,000 indirectly, mainly in regional Australia. With over 54% of our electricity generated from black coal it also underpins the security, reliability and comparative low-cost of Australia’s electricity supply.
Australia was the only one of the world’s 33 advanced economies to grow in 2009 during the worst global recession since the Great Depression. A principal reason for this was our continued coal exports. The importance of coal in the economy is also evident in its growing share of GDP. This share has more than doubled, from 1.7 % in 2006-07 to 3.5 % in 2008-09, making it the largest contributor to the mining sector.
Every year, the coal industry pays billions of dollars to Commonwealth and State governments in the form of corporate taxes, natural resource royalties, and payment of freight charges. In 2008-2009 coal royalties were worth $3.1 billion to the Queensland Government and $1.3 billion to the New South Wales Government. This flows back into the community in the form of state funding for hospitals, schools and roads.
The coal industry also contributes tens of millions of dollars annually to fund community social infrastructure. This is in addition to the benefits that flow from its day-to-day operations – including jobs and business opportunities, contributions to public infrastructure, and support for education, training & apprenticeships.
Photo by Robert Billington, courtesy of NSWMC