Two significant events have showed that a major adjustment of our economy is needed to end our reliance on coal
It will be no news to anyone that the coal industry is a pretty big deal in our economy – it is our biggest export and a major source of economic growth. We do however get a bit overexcited about it as we get trapped into thinking the Australian economy is all about mining and any hits to it means we are effectively stuffed. Events this week showed that we need to start preparing for life without it.
With the exception of a few years when iron ore exports were boosted, coal has long been our major export. Japan is the biggest destination, but around 20% of it goes to China. Even so, the coal mining sector is not quite as important as you might think. It accounts for less growth in our economy than iron ore mining, or indeed something as mundane as the retail sector. So while we do need to be concerned about the mining sector, it’s when people stop buying things in our shops that we’ll know we’re in recession territory.
The only ones still seeing a future in coal are those not in the mining industry, and mostly those on the government benches