24,000 workers needed by 2027

The forecast took into account the estimated labour required to operate new, expanding and restarted energy (oil and gas) and mining projects.

Importantly, the estimate of 24,000 workers is only based on projects that are already committed or advanced in planning.

18 oil and gas projects are likely to proceed within the modelling period, but coal (22), gold (21) and critical minerals (19) are the standouts.

AREEA chief executive Steve Knott AM stated the need for “creative solutions and a coordinated response.”

“Our industry is battling the worst skills crisis in a generation. This is threatening the continuity of existing operations, resulting in temporary or permanent production downgrades, and driving other workforce issues including historic levels of staff turnover,” said Knott.

May saw the highest ever numbers of workers employed by the resources sector with 295 thousand people. If AREEA’s projections are accurate, this number will exceed 300 thousand in 2023, and grow by another 8 per cent by 2027.

Knott said that the industry is experiencing record levels of job vacancies which show no sign of easing. He projected that, without creative solutions to the problem, demand for skilled labour will outstrip supply.

If Labour needs are met in the projects included in the estimate, they could bring $130 billion in new capital investment to Australia.

Looking beyond those projects at the potential projects in Australia, Knott says that the AREEA’s reported numbers could potentially triple.

“At a time when Australia is staring down the barrel at nearly one trillion dollars in national debt, we encourage the community to consider how critical the resources and energy industry will be to Australia’s economic future,” Knott said.

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