New Hope Coal, QRC Fudge Figures on Mine Jobs and Investment

A research report released today by The Australia Institute shows job claims of the Acland mine on the Darling Downs have been grossly exaggerated by owners New Hope and other coal lobbyists.

The new report shows:

1. New Acland Coal and the Queensland Resource Council (QRC) are using inflated job figures up to triple what experts advise.

2. Regional employment is dominated not by mining, but by meat processing, defence, road freight and beef cattle. The region does not ‘rely’ on the Acland mine.

3. Recent major investments have been abattoir expansion, rail upgrades, a regional data centre, airport, road infrastructure and large scale solar projects.

“New Acland Coal and the QRC cite figures of 700 jobs, a claim that is triple the numbers cited by the company’s own expert in court,” said Dr Cameron Murray, report author.

“In fact, New Acland Coal’s economic expert estimated the mine would create just 250 regional jobs, noting that ‘the jobs created are fairly insignificant in terms of overall numbers and that they will largely be filled by workers who come from other industries’.

“Claims by coal interests that the Acland Stage 3 mine will ‘save’ the nearby town of Oakey, and that Oakey is reliant on such jobs, are also incorrect as many jobs do not go to locals.

“Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that just 46 people in Oakey – which amounts to 1.8% of the town’s workforce – are listed as working in mining.

“The majority of regional employment in this region is in diverse, growth industries including meat processing, beef cattle, road freight and defence. The data shows that these are the industries that Oakey relies on economically, not mining.

“If anything, there is a shortage of labour, not a shortage of job openings in the region. In fact, the media has dubbed the current situation in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs as a ‘$13 billion economic bonanza’.

“Our review shows mining interests are promoting bad economics and dodgy numbers on jobs and investment in an apparent bid to distort the economic picture of the mine’s significance in order to influence government decisions about it,” Dr Murray said.

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