Dr Richard Deniss, believes the coal boom is very good news for the coal industry but really bad news for the manufacturing sector, tourism and agriculture. While it’s been billed as the financial saviour of the nation, Dr Deniss reminds us that the “economy” is something that needs to work for over 22 million Australians and over a million businesses. So which bits of the economy is the coal boom good for?
Eighty-three per cent of coal industry is foreign owned, so the profits from this boom are headed overseas. There are deals being done to ensure foreign workers get employed in mining in Western Australia and Queensland. Locally, workers that are flown in and flown out of mining towns get such big wages that local businesses, manufacturing industries, and community building services such as teaching, nursing and policing can’t compete, and are struggling to find workers.
Dr Deniss reminds us of the most basic principle in all good economies; don’t put all your eggs in one basket
“Last year 63 per cent of all investment went into the mining industry. But the mining industry only employs two per cent of our workforce. So we’re putting our whole future faith in the fact that this mining boom is going to continue, so we’ve put all our eggs in one basket.”
“Booms end,” says Deniss. “That’s why it’s risky to hollow out our manufacturing industry, hollow out our communities, and literally bet the country on the mining boom going forever. History tells us that booms are fun on the way up but no fun on the way down.”