McKell Institute report is neither credible nor impartial

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The McKell Institute report on so-called wage-cutting strategies in the mining industry is neither credible nor impartial.

The report released today:

  • Conflates casual employment with labour hire and service contractors
  • Implicitly assumes that all indirect workers are precariously employed (whereas service contractors negotiate their own enterprise agreements and usually with unions)
  • Relies on hypothetical average pay rates and shares of casual employment devised by the Mining & Energy Union
  • Selects a simplistic economic model that generates the desired result by assuming no adverse effects on investment, productivity or employment of extending the highest prevailing wage rates to labour hire workers and service contractors.

Mining is providing highly skilled, highly paid and secure jobs across Australia. ABS data show:

  • Median weekly earnings of mining employees paid by a labour hire firm are approximately $300 more (or 13 per cent higher) than the median weekly earnings of direct hire mining employees
  • Mining employment has trebled from an average of 83,900 in 2002 to 264,700 in 2021
  • 88 per cent of mining workers are permanent and 96 per cent are employed full time
  • Australian mining pays more on average than any other industry ($144,000 a year)
  • 99 per cent of mining workers earn above-award wages and conditions¬†¬†
  • Average weekly earnings in mining increased 25 per cent between 2010-11 and 2020-21
  • In 2021, 88 per cent of mining workers were permanently employed, up from 84 per cent in 2020
  • In 2021, 93 per cent of coal mining workers in Queensland and NSW were permanently employed, up from 87 per cent in 2020
  • Over the past decade (2012-2021) the share of casual workers in mining across Australia has averaged 13 per cent, compared to 24 per cent for all industries.

The mining industry successfully employs a range of agreement options to drive productivity and incomes.

Mining companies tailor their employment arrangements to suit very different locations, ore bodies, production techniques, occupations and worker preferences.



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