Facts on jobs, coal and Queensland


The coal industry has always been a minor employer in Queensland. At its peak it employed fewer people than the arts and recreation industry, but in recent years has shrunk further, shedding 10,000 jobs in Queensland and now representing less than 1 percent of the state’s workforce.

“Our Research shows that the coal industry makes a far bigger impression on politicians than it does on employment and the economy,” Executive Director of The Australia Institute, Ben Oquist said.

“Queensland has seen a jobs boom in other industries and a resulting drop in the unemployment rate, despite the recent decline in coal investment and the industry cutting its workforce by over 35 percent.

“This is a practical demonstration of the fact that jobs and growth come from a broader range of industries, in particular, health, education and services,” Oquist said.

Facts about coal and jobs in Queensland:

  • Coal mining now employs less than 1 percent of people who work in Queensland.
  • Coal mining currently employs around 20,000 people in Queensland. This has fallen from a highpoint of 30,000 in 2013. There are 2.36 million people in work in Queensland.
  • Nationally, coal mining is projected to cut its workforce by 21 percent by November 2020, according to Commonwealth Department of Employment projections.
  • In Queensland, all parts of mining (coal, as well as gas and other resources) are projected to fall by 7,400 jobs to 2020.

Sources: 1 ABS Cat no. 6291.0.55.001 – Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, 2 ABS Cat no. 6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia,3 Department of Employment (2016) 2016 Industry Employment Projections – five years to November 2020, 4 Department of Employment (2016) Regional Projections to November 2020

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