Gas Industry Cuts 10% of its Workforce

New Australia Institute analysis estimates that the oil and gas industry cut around 10 percent of its workforce in the 12 months to December last year. Despite this, the Government is continuing to hand out large taxpayer subsidies to the industry as part of its “Gas-Fired Recovery JobMaker Plan.”

If all Australian industries had behaved in the same way, Australia would have 1.3 million more unemployed workers and 15 percent unemployment.

Key points:

  • Significant job cuts were reported at virtually all the large oil and gas companies operating in Australia in late 2019 and 2020.
    • At least 2,615 gas industry workers were reported to have been laid off during this period (see Table 1 below).
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show a reduction of 10.5 percent in gas industry jobs in 2020, compared to a reduction of just 1.7 percent in Australian industries as a whole.

“When the going got tough, the gas industry sacked its workers in record time,” said Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute.

“Australian employers as a whole stood by their workers through the 2020 pandemic with the gas industry, dominated by multinational firms, being a notable exception.

“This shows the absurdity of government handouts of taxpayer’s money to the oil and gas industry as part of the COVID recovery—they will pocket the cash and cut their workforce when it suits them.

“If the Government is serious about creating jobs with its JobMaker plan, it would be better off backing nearly any industry other than the gas industry.”

A table listing the reported job cuts by oil and gas companies, November 2019 - December 2020

Related research