Saturday, August 29, 2015

Don't believe the hype. Coal is not a job creator

I wonder how much Abbot gets in campaign contributions from coal companies?

Ben Oquist
Aug. 27, 2015

The prime minister (Tony Abbott, of Australia) has repeatedly said that the next election should be about jobs. He has attempted to kick-start a new “economy versus environment” strategy in relation to a coal mining. According to the ABS a huge 0.3% of Australians are currently employed in coal mining. If the coal industry trebled in size tomorrow it still wouldn’t be enough to create jobs for the extra 101,900 people who have become unemployed since Tony Abbott became prime minister.

Anyone who has ever seen an open cut coal mine will understand why they don’t create a lot of jobs. Work that was once done by men with picks and shovels is now done by explosives and enormous machines. Economists call such industries “capital intensive” which is another way of saying “doesn’t create many jobs”.

The ABS provides clear data on this issue for anyone who is interested: it shows that every $1m in mining output creates 1.02 jobs while every $1m from health creates 8.47 jobs and agriculture creates 3.7 jobs. There is no doubt that building the Shenhua coal mine on the prime agricultural lands of the Liverpool plains will cost jobs, not create them.


Abbott has claimed repeatedly that “green tape” and “lawfare” are holding up a potential 10,000 jobs at his favourite coal mine, even though the company’s own economics expert, Dr Jerome Fahrer, admitted under oath that the figure was closer to 1,500 – including indirect jobs.


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