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Mining's economic contribution not as big as you might think

Ross Gittins comments in the Brisbane Times (3.2.17) on the contribution of the mining sector to the Australian economy, arguing that its size and significance is often overstated.

'With Malcolm Turnbull desperate to keep burning coal for electricity, just how important is the mining industry to our economy? Short answer: not nearly as much as it wants us to believe, and has conned our politicians into believing.

'Because people like me have spent so much time over the past decade and more banging on about the resources boom, we've probably left many people with an exaggerated impression of the sector's importance.

'It's true that, thanks to a quadrupling in the value of its physical capital, mining now accounts for about 7 per cent of our total production of goods and services (gross domestic product), compared with less than 5 per cent in 2004, at the start of the boom.

'But 7 per cent ain't all that much, and if you measure mining by how much of our workforce it employs, it's even less: 2 per cent.

'That's just 230,000 people, about as many as are employed in the arts and recreation.'

 

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