Paul Braven

879 jobs axed as resources downturn bites

NEW FIGURES reveal the true extent of the resources downturn in Gladstone, with 897 full-time jobs wiped out in one year.

But the figures, released by the Queensland Resources Council, reveal that industry is still the engine room of Gladstone's economy, flooding the region with $2.2 billion in 2015-16.  

It accounts for 49% of the Gladstone region's gross domestic product.

The figures also show the pie is shrinking as the downturn digs its teeth in, with more than $9 billion wiped off the Fitzroy region's economy since 2012-13 and about $4.4 billion in the past year.

"These results signal the continued transition of the resources sector from an investment phase of record capital expenditure into an operational phase of making sure that this new production capacity is being delivered as efficiently as possible," QRC chief executive Michael Roche said.

"Queensland's expanded export capacity and more competitive cost structures see us well positioned to benefit from the current upturn in commodity prices,' Mr Roche said.

In the Fitzroy region, Gladstone emerged as the most reliant ($2.2 billion), followed by the Central Highlands ($1.7 billion), Rockhampton ($789m), Banana ($604m), and Livingstone ($409m).

Redundancies at both Yarwun and Queensland Alumina Limited, Aurizon, Gladstone Power Station, and mass lay-offs from Bechtel hit workers and their families, with the amount of wages paid reducing from $452 million three years ago to just $196 million last year.

DOWNTURN: The impact of the resources sector in 2015-16.
DOWNTURN: The impact of the resources sector in 2015-16. QRC

The number of full-time employees at resources companies has reduced 3023 to just 1416 over three years.

But industry still indirectly created 13,163 full-time jobs, 39% of Gladstone's workforce.

About 579 businesses and 66 community organisations in the Gladstone region shared in the $1 billion of spending, an average of $155,038 each.

"Despite another challenging year the natural resources sector was directly and indirectly responsible for one in every five dollars in Queensland's economy and one in every seven jobs," Mr Roche said.

"The Queensland resources sector will continue to play a key role in the prosperity of the state with the fundamental drivers of global demand for high-quality resources remaining strong."

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