Who’s buying? – Centre for Policy Development

Who’s buying? The impact of global decarbonisation on Australia’s regions

Who’s buying? The impact of global decarbonisation on Australia’s regions is a report from the Centre For Policy Development’s Sustainable Economy Program that models the impact of global decarbonisation commitments on employment and output at a Local Government Area (LGA) level in Australia.

Key Findings

  • Global decarbonisation could affect around 300,000 Australian jobs connected to coal, oil and gas exports by 2050
  • A handful of Local Government Areas bear the brunt of this impact – ten LGAs are predicted to account for around a third of all affected jobs 
  • Global decarbonisation is a predictable, manageable, long-term industrial transition; these estimates are based on projections of global demand for fossil fuels in 2050
  • With active transition planning, these communities should be able to thrive in a post-carbon economy
  • The world in 2050 will be vastly different to the world today, with many new industries and opportunities
  • Australia can make the choice now to diversify our economy and change
    gear to capture the opportunities created by decarbonisation.

Who's buying - Centre for Policy Development

Who’s buying? models and analyses the locked-in and likely impact of global decarbonisation efforts by Australia’s trade partners on domestic fossil fuel export jobs. As nations pursue accelerated decarbonisation pathways after COP26, the choices Australia makes today can allow us to make sure the people and communities most affected by changing exports lead the charge for opportunities, jobs and projects in new industries. 

As the global demand for coal is predicted to dramatically decrease in the coming decades – with conservative modelling suggesting a 50% drop by 2050, and more aggressive models plotting an even sharper decline – Australian jobs in the fossil fuels sector will be particularly exposed to this shift in global energy consumption.

The report calls for “laser-focused” local jobs deals between industry, government, investors, workers’ representatives and community leaders to connect communities in the Bowen Basin, Hunter and Pilbara with new opportunities that will be created in diverse industries such as mining, services, manufacturing, wind, hydrogen and renewables.

Who’s buying? uses an input-output model to chart the effects of this shift on the Australian labour market, drilling into the impacts in each industry in each LGA. What it finds is that between 100,000 and 300,000 Australian jobs — representing around two percent of the overall labour market — and $50 billion (in 2020 dollars) of annual output will be impacted. While modest at a national level, just ten LGAs are predicted to account for around a third of these exposed jobs, and almost half of total estimated output loss. These LGAs are primarily located in central Queensland’s Bowen Basin, the Upper Hunter in NSW, and the Pilbara in Western Australia. 

As Australia’s main trading partners look toward a post-carbon economy, the time for policy makers to respond to this inevitable global trend is now.

Who’s buying? in the media