Coal seam gas developments 'cost jobs'

Thousands gather for an anti-coal seam gas rally in Bulli last month.
Thousands gather for an anti-coal seam gas rally in Bulli last month.

Coal seam gas development costs more jobs than it creates, an independent think tank spokesman claims.

Mark Ogge from The Australia Institute yesterday addressed a public forum hosted by Stop CSG Illawarra and discussed the effects of coal seam gas (CSG) development on jobs and the economy.

He said institute research found any CSG jobs created were negated by the loss of jobs in other industries.

"The key point is that the coal seam gas industry will not provide many jobs in the Illawarra region, it's estimated to be, at its peak, about 12 jobs," he said.

"But the expansion of the CSG industry . . . is actually costing a lot of jobs, and the reason for that is that CSG crowds out jobs in other industries and that's particularly the case in manufacturing, education, tourism and agriculture.

Mr Ogge said the expansion of the resource sector, which includes CSG, had driven the dollar's value skywards, making it difficult for some industries to remain competitive.

"And when that happens, and they can no longer compete, they end up shedding workers as happened with Bluescope recently.

"It's much harder for Australian companies to compete overseas and steel is a classic example of that, and the increase in the dollar is predominantly as a result of the rapid expansion of the resource sector."

Another of the Illawarra's cornerstone industries, education, was also affected by the high Australian dollar, Mr Ogge said.

"International students are much less likely to come to Australia generally because it's relatively much more expensive to come here when there's a high exchange rate," he said.