QRC chief Michael Roche.
QRC chief Michael Roche. Mark Duffus

Mining regions enjoy low jobless rates, high education

MINING regions have low unemployment, high education levels and stable and diversified populations, according to a new KPMG report released on Monday.

The Minerals Council of Australia-commissioned study analysed 2011 Census data from nine mining regions including the Bowen and Galilee basins, which the Queensland Resources Council said debunked claims the resource industry was destroying communities.

"The findings put paid to claims that mining is hollowing out the regions in which it has operations," QRC chief Michael Roche said.

"The resources sector is boosting incomes, attracting families and reducing unemployment.

"The argument that fly in, fly out arrangements hollow out regional communities and get a free ride on local facilities also doesn't wash."

Unemployment in the Bowen Basin sat at 2.5% compared with 5.4% in other regional areas of Australia, had a 7% higher completion rate of Year 12 at 44% of the population.

About 21% of the population earned more than $2000 a week, according to the report.

Mr Roche said the Central Highlands Regional Council collected 42.5% of its rates for the 2012-13 budget from mining, but warned government must continue to deliver on infrastructure and services in resource regions.

The report has met with controversy, with Independent MP Tony Windsor claiming the timing of the publication was designed to pre-empt the Federal Parliament's FIFO Inquiry findings.

Mr Windsor said the reliance on census data meant the KPMG report was incomplete.

"It's being interpreted as hard data, but the ABS is on public record expressing concern over the way the census is done and the way it addresses how people work."


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