Regional mining areas contain a higher proportion of families than regional Australia generally, with income, educational attainment and employment figures also significantly higher in these areas, according to a new study.
The national study by KPMG investigated key demographics within Australia’s nine prominent mining and oil and gas extraction regions to quantify the effect the mining and energy industry is having on regional Australia.
South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) CEO Jason Kuchel said while the demographic and industry workforce profile defined in the report was not surprising, some people may find the statistics eye-opening.
“The report clearly defies any claims that these regions are primarily fly-in, fly-out and not increasing in real population,” he said.
“Employees are flying in, flying out, but they are also moving to the regions and bringing their families with them, providing real benefits and contributing to the sustainable growth of these communities.”
The report cites that, as at the 2011 census, 34 per cent of resident households in the mining regions comprised the nuclear family of ‘mum, dad and the kids’ in comparison to 33 per cent across regional Australia generally.
One of the nine regions examined is Central South Australia, which encompasses the Roxby Downs and Coober Pedy areas. The data reveals a significant increase in attainment of year 12 for the region over the past five years, recording 44 per cent against the national regional average of less than 40 per cent, and an 18 per cent improvement for that particular region since 2006.
The percentage of two parent families residing in the area with children is identical to the national regional average of 33 per cent, contradicting any suggestion that mining regions are dominated by single males.
Mr Kuchel said the report highlights the significant population increases in these regions and increases in residents employed in the mining industry, and also the associated construction sector – now the second largest industry employer across Australia’s mining regions.
“This growth brings with it higher than average incomes and educational attainment and lower unemployment levels,” Mr Kuchel said.
The increase in population size in these regions also brings significant flow on benefits to the communities in terms of service requirements.
The mining regions examined in the report were the Pilbara, Central-West (WA), Surat Basin, North West QLD, the Hunter Valley, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Central SA, the Galilee Basin and the Bowen Basin.
The report was commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, and compiles key standard of living measures and basic demographic profiles of Australia’s nine main mining regions for the first time.
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