Investment drought to kill resources boom building jobs

AFTER a decade of seemingly endless construction sites created by the resources boom, a looming drought of investment will, by 2018, have wiped out 90% of these building jobs, with only a few key areas in Queensland largely immune.

The latest data from the Australian Workforce Productivity Agency estimates a tremendous fall in building working in the resources industry, falling from 83,324 in 2014 to just 7708 by 2018.

Regional hubs of Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and the Darling Downs regions are still forecast to thrive as Central Queensland benefits from mines built during the boom, and Gladstone and Toowoomba start running on gas.

Newly opened coal mines west of Mackay and Rockhampton will absorb some of the impact, as will the booming coal seam gas and liquefied natural gas industries as they translate into major operations.

Many of those currently constructing these mines and gas projects may make the jump from builder to operator if their skills are useful.

Concreters, tilers and renderers will require re-training to stay in the industry once construction ends, although their skills could be in high demand from residential or infrastructure builders.

An agency board member Keith Spence said the tradition of skilled workers demanding huge payment for their time could return in Gladstone and the Darling Downs as $60 billion in CSG and LNG work comes out of the ground.

"The average oil and gas worker salary in Australia is $160,000," Mr Spence said.

"If you compare that to the United States, it is $118,000.

"We're paying a hell of a lot more for oil and gas workers.

"Part of this is competition, rather than investing in training, (companies) are pinching people from their competitors."

By 2018, Darling Downs and Rockhampton regions will have another 4000 resources jobs.

Mackay will need another 5000 workers.

The Pilbara in Western Australia is the only other region in the country with a similar need for workers.