Canberra-based think tank the Australia Institute has an interesting (though tendentious) paper out today:
The paper notes:
The mining boom is causing large structural changes to both the Queensland and Australian economies. These changes will inevitably create winners and losses…
…It is possible that with a tight labour market and upward pressure on exchange rates, the proposed mining projects in Queensland could lead to a net loss of jobs, that is, rather than being job creators the mines could be job destroyers. New jobs are likely to be mainly short- term construction jobs, replacing longer term jobs in manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.
The paper does a good job of explaining the adverse consequences of the mining boom through its impact on the exchange rate, but it is a very unbalanced piece as it ignores the massive benefits to consumers who can buy goods from overseas more cheaply due to the higher exchange rate. Also, there are obviously big welfare gains to those Australians travelling overseas. I’ve noticed the high Australian dollar is funding a lot of extended holidays by baby boomers in the French countryside, in particular.
With the exception of unlucky job losers in manufacturing and tourism, we’re all wealthier due to the mining boom. The winners from the mining boom include millions of Australians, not just those much maligned mining billionaires.