Mining riches flow to Mid West WA

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
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Construction worker wearing safety uniform in industrial setting.
Camera IconConstruction worker wearing safety uniform in industrial setting. Credit: pamspix/Getty Images

Hundreds of businesses in the Mid West and Gascoyne can thank the mining industry for most of their revenue, with the industry creating more than $400 million of local economic activity.

An analysis of 65 WA resources companies found the State’s mining, oil and gas, energy and contractor industries directly contributed $403.8m to the local regions’ economies in 2019-20 and 1178 full-time local jobs.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Paul Everingham said the survey results showed how much the WA mining and resources sector underpinned economies and communities around WA, and across Australia.

“The CME member companies involved in this survey directly employed 1178 people locally in the Mid West and Gascoyne regions, paying them more than $150m in wages,” he said.

Strike Energy's West Erregulla gas project.
Camera IconStrike Energy's West Erregulla gas project. Credit: Strike Energy/Supplied

“Those member companies spent an additional $252m supporting 327 Mid West and Gascoyne businesses, 33 community organisations headquartered in the region, and 13 local governments.

“Supply chain spending by those companies created an additional 969 jobs in the Mid West and Gascoyne, and generated nearly $133m in indirect gross value-add for local economies. Almost one of six full-time jobs in these regions had some connection to the sector.

“Given these 65 companies represent a majority of CME members but not all of them, and there are also operators in the sector outside our umbrella, the actual contribution to the Mid West and Gascoyne economies would be even greater than what is indicated in these fact sheets.”

Supply chain spending by those companies created an additional 969 jobs in the Mid West and Gascoyne, and generated nearly $133m in indirect gross value-add for local economies. Almost one of six full-time jobs in these regions had some connection to the sector.

Mid West Development Commission chairman Tim Glenister, pictured, said the data was no surprise, with the high-performing industry, coupled with the diverse economy of the Mid West, creating a lot of flow-on spending.

“The mining industry is not only important to the Mid West, but to the whole State, there’s no mystery about that,” he said.

“It’s really important for employment, although it is interesting because employment in the mining industry has a leverage effect, as with one person who’s employed in the mining industry there’s several people who benefit from that — families and related services etc.”

Mid West Development Commission chairman Tim Glenister.
Camera IconMid West Development Commission chairman Tim Glenister. Credit: Geraldton Guardian/Elise Van Aken

He said he was hopeful more mining employees would see the benefits of living in the region instead of working fly-in, fly-out.

“Mining is not the biggest employer in the region by any stretch — mining employs less than one in 10 people in the workforce,” he said.

“We in the Mid West would certainly like to see more local people employed in the industry.

“I think it’s a great place to live, one of the features of the Mid West is its liveability.”

The survey showed the full direct economic contributions of the 65 member companies involved was nearly $52 billion in WA and more than $31 billion outside the State, for a national figure of more than $83 billion.

The data collected from 65 member companies covers more than 150 operational sites across the State, representing 70 per cent of the WA resources sector by production.

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