All Australians are familiar with the doom and gloom around the end of the commodities boom. So how big was the mining boom within Queensland, and how important is coal and mineral export to the Queensland (QLD) economy. In 2014-15 QLD exported A$49.2 billion (source ). The largest single export commodity for QLD in 2014-15 was coal at $18.4 bn, the collective mineral exports from Queensland for 2014-15 was $27.7bn (~56.4% of total exports).
That is pretty significant, over 56% of exports were mining related. By comparison the agricultural related exports for QLD were $10.1bn (20.5%) and manufactured goods accounted for 9.2%. The remaining 13.8% are ‘special transactions’ and ‘combined confidential items of trade’ which means we don’t actually know which commodities were traded just their dollar value.
Figure 1: Core exports for Queensland (2014-15)
While 56% is a pretty big reliance on mineral exports for 2014-15. From Figure 2 you can see that this is actually down from a peak of 63% in 2008-09. What is also clear from Figure 2 is the dramatic growth in exports for Queensland from the early 2000’s (about 80% increase in exports since 2005).
It looks as though the rapid growth in exports is largely due to mining. However Figure 3 shows a relative decline in agricultural export over the same period from 35% in the late 80s to a low of 12% in 2008-09. Manufacturing has hovered around 7-10% for the entire period, but the unspecified proportion of export has more than doubled (from 7% to 18% in 2008-2009). Presumably the 10% growth in unspecified exports accounts for some of the 23% decline in agricultural exports.
Figure2: Exports from Queensland through time.
What is interesting about Figure 3, is that the collective mining related exports for Queensland have only varied from 45-63% (and mostly have hovered around 50%) for the last 25 years. So while mining exports might be coming off a slight peak, the agricultural sector is having a much harder time. It seems that mining has been consistently a significant export commodity for QLD and even as it shrinks it remains a significant portion. The manufacturing sector has remained somewhat similar across the years in terms of it’s contribution to QLD exports however, the agricultural sector continues to shrink. I do wonder what the unspecified portion consists of as it starts to take a greater role in the export industry of QLD?
Figure 3: Relative value of export stream for Queensland
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