Hay Point Coal Terminal had a total export of 48.9 million tonnes of coal in 2018.
Hay Point Coal Terminal had a total export of 48.9 million tonnes of coal in 2018. Tony Martin

Mackay's economy reaps benefits of record coal exports

MACKAY'S economy is reaping the benefits of record-breaking coal exports across the region.

In 2018, Mackay and Whitsundays delivered exports of 148.2 million tonnes of coal, contributing to a whopping total of 223 million tonnes across Queensland.

The new data from Queensland ports reveals the 2018 exports have surpassed the previous record of 221 million tonnes set in 2016.

Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke said she wasn't surprised with the news considering how efficient Mackay's resource industry had been in the past 18 months.

"It's been a very busy year and we've seen a real focus on production efficiency," Ms Rourke said.

"The mining service sector is so dominant in Mackay and I think that contributes greatly to the efficiency of our coal ports."

Ms Rourke said Mackay was starting to see the flow-on effects from the success of the coal industry.

"When our mining and coal industries thrive, our economy picks up and retail, hospitality and education all benefit," she said.

"This can present a risk for some businesses because our unemployment rate is so low.

"It can be difficult to find employees with the right skill-set in the region so it is important to encourage more people to move to Mackay to pursue a career. We don't want our businesses to have to decline potential opportunities because they don't have the staff.

"Promoting the longevity of our jobs and our mining industry is vital to attract people from other regions."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Australia's net exports of coal were predicted to increase.

"Australia's coal earnings are on target to generate more than $67 billion in 2018-19," he said.

"Last year the coal industry contributed $43.4 billion to the Queensland economy and invested $13.1 billion into local businesses and community organisations. Every tonne of coal and all resources exported brings in royalty taxes, which help pay for Queensland roads, schools and hospitals."

Ms Rourke said the figures were a clear demonstration the companies in Mackay delivering solutions to drive production efficiency were getting better at what they did.

"Our businesses are clearly improving and streamlining their processes and I think they should be recognised and congratulated for their part in providing solutions to clients," she said.

"Mining houses have been working with their suppliers to drive production efficiency and this is why we are seeing records breaking."

Port by port breakdown

  • Port of Brisbane 7.1mt
  • Abbot Point Coal Terminal 29.8mt
  • Hay Point Coal Terminal 48.9mt
  • Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal 69.5mt
  • Port of Gladstone 67.9mt