Hogsback on the recession

HOGSBACK reckons Australia got a huge wake up call this week with the news gross domestic product sank 7% in the June quarter.
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Excessive red and green tape was stopping the coal mining industry from creating even more jobs.

That meant we did not dodge the COVID-19 bullet like we did the global financial crisis 12 years ago and escape recession.

Instead, we have a full-blown economic catastrophe on the scale of the great depression of the 1930s.

The Australian economy is on government-funded life support at the moment and this is due to be wound back over the next few months.

The threat of another wave of the pandemic still looms over the economy.   

Given this scenario, the nation desperately needs globally competitive industries to put it on its feet again.

This is where the value of a strong and innovative industry such as coal mining can prove its worth - if anyone cares to notice. 

Federal resources minister Keith Pitt said the industry was proving more than resilient.

"The mining industry bucked the national trend to see a 0.2% increase in output during the June quarter, which is also a 1.1% rise on the same period last year," he said.

"Encouragingly, mining investment also rose by 1.3% on the previous quarter, and up by almost 8% on the previous year, which is a good indication of the confidence in the Australian resources sector, despite the impact of COVID-19.

"It continues to directly employ more than 200,000 Australians and supports the jobs of well over a million others."

And while Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is gloating over winning the right to host the AFL Grand Final at the Gabba as she prepares for the election next month, she should be praising the contribution of coal mining to help alleviate unemployment in her state.

Queensland's unemployment rate is the nation's highest at 8.8%.

Coal mining is doing its bit to provide job opportunities, especially in the regions but it needs some help.

Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said excessive red and green tape was stopping the coal mining industry from creating even more jobs.

"We've had barriers put in place by government to new investment and more jobs in the resources sector with little consultation or warning," he said.

"Frankly, the time it takes to get projects moving in Queensland these days and to get through all the red and green tape is ridiculous.

"We can be stronger, and Queensland can be stronger, but we need a shared commitment and unwavering support from the government."

Hogsback reckons that when the social impacts of this recession really start to bite, a population desperate for work and financial security will be marching in the streets calling for more coal mines.