(EnergyAsia, July 9 2013, Tuesday) — The coal industry will contribute about A$43 billion to the Australian economy this year and provide 180,000 direct and indirect jobs, said the Australian Coal Association (ACA). (US$1=A$1.07).

The association recently revealed these and other figures contained in a special study that it had commissioned to counter a growing national campaign by green groups to shut down the industry.

The study, “The Australian Coal Industry-adding value to the Australian Economy”, was written by Professor Sinclair Davidson and senior lecturer Ashton De Silva of the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT University.

The study’s main findings include:

– The ‘coal economy’ made up 3.1% of gross value added (worth around $43 billion) in 2011-12 rising by 18.25% since 2006-07. This is a supply side measure.

– The broader ‘coal economy’, including both supply-side and demand-side considerations, made up 4.2% of gross value added (worth almost A$60 billion) in 2011-12.

– For every job created in coal mining, 3.7 jobs are created nationally in the Australian economy, making up a direct and indirect workforce of more than 180,000 people in 2011-12.

– For every million dollars of output in coal mining, the coal economy would see 3.2 jobs being created as a result of the extraction of coal and investment in new and improved capacity.

– The coal extraction industry made up 1.8% of gross value added in 2011-12 up from 1.5% in 2006-2007.

In a joint statement, the authors said:

“Over the past 30 years, coal has been one of Australia’s major export industries. In fact, for most of that period it was the major export industry. Coal represents the main export earner for both Queensland and New South Wales states.

“The modern Australian economy is highly dependent on access to reliable and relatively cheap electricity-coal mining in particular, and the coal economy in general, underpins our prosperity.”

It follows a key Reserve Bank of Australia working paper, published in February 2013, which found that the wider resource economy accounted for 18% of gross value added in 2011-2012.

ACA CEO, Nikki Williams said the report shows the extent to which the coal industry is embedded in the Australian economy.

“It is a reality that coal for power generation and steel manufacture has built our modern Australia and is now helping other countries to improve the quality of life of their people by reducing energy poverty,” she said.

“This indisputable fact is not widely understood. The long-term outlook for coal remains strong. We need to ensure that our sector remains internationally competitive to ensure that Australia benefits from the sustainable development of its coal resources.”