Mining projects continue to influence economy

Date: Mar 14, 2012

As reports continue to file in on the market turbulence experienced in Europe and certain parts of Asia, it is interesting to note that Australia's economy remains fairly stable.

However, as a recent report from a leading financial institution has noted, this is largely to do with increased investment in one key area - and does not take into account the cyclical nature of other industries.

According to the Westpac Market Insights March 2012 research paper, mining and energy projects have only just begun to have an effect on the local markets.

It notes that the Australian economy has been progressing with what it calls "sub-trend growth", where the local industries have been hit by the same reduced confidence as experienced in other countries.

In the past this has kept the economy from expanding beyond 2.3 per cent in 2011 - but this is a feature that may shortly be set to change.

The report states: "That streak looks set to end in 2012 on the back of the ever-impressive mining project build-out, which will also underpin growth in 2013."

To date the increase in activity in mining and resources has been considerable, with an 80 per cent increase in capital expenditure since 2010 - mainly on "a wave of investment" in new gas projects.

As a whole, the industry has contributed $18.8 billion in infrastructure and development to the local economy over the last quarter in 2011 - that's 5.5 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product.

Naturally, these spending details have had a flow-on effect to businesses offering the services required to develop these projects - increasing demand for skilled workers who have the experience required to deliver advanced infrastructure.

As competition for qualified workers becomes predominant, many firms will find that local labour pools are unable to support their needs and will be forced to turn to alternative sources.

While interstate employment is certainly a common option, the difficulties associated with maintaining a fly-in fly-out workforce can lead managers to investigate the prospects of hiring international workers.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has a number of avenues available that are specifically related to mining, construction and engineering employment and have programs that take into account the needs of regional and remote businesses.

To make sure that a firm is making the best use out of their valuable resources, a migration lawyer can provide helpful advice that ensures an application to the DIAC has the best possible chance of success.