Coal in the Southern Highlands economy

by Rod Campbell

Mining plays a small role in the economy of the Southern Highlands. The major employing industries are service industries, manufacturing and construction. While tourism is not separately counted in most statistical publications, the strong employment numbers in retail, accommodation, food and transport industry categories suggest it plays a strong role. Agriculture is a relatively small employer, but still employs around six times more Southern Highlands residents than mining. Agriculture and manufacturing can be negatively affected by mining development through competition for water, skilled labour, services and other inputs.

Mining in the Southern Highlands makes modest contributions to state government royalties, of perhaps $24 million or 0.04 per cent of state revenue. Mines pay perhaps one per cent of shire rates.

By any measure, coal mining’s current and potential contribution to the Southern Highlands economy is minor. Decision makers should carefully assess these contributions against the potential impacts and risks that coal mining can have on the environment, communities and other industries.

You can download a factsheet about coal in the Southern Highlands here:

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