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4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, April 2013  
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Towns of the mining boom









Related terms:
mining boom, mining town, service population, mining industry employment, mining wages, fly-in fly-out workers, drive-in drive out workers, shift patterns, staff quarters, renting from an employer, Census.



INTRODUCTION

The strong growth in mining industry employment in Australia in recent years may have barely been noticed in many of our cities, towns and regions. In most places, mining industry jobs comprise a very small proportion of all jobs. However, in some areas the growth has had a significant impact.

Between 2006 and 2011, there were ten fast growing urban centres with at least one in six workers staying on Census Night 2011 employed in the mining industry. Some of these workers may have been spending a considerable proportion of their time in these mining towns, but reported on Census Night that they usually lived elsewhere. For this reason, the number of people who usually live in these mining towns may understate the number of people these towns need to service.

Services such as health care, police, transport, water supply, garbage collection and sewerage, and infrastructure such as housing, roads, rail, airports and telecommunications can be inadequate if they are funded and built for the usually resident population but are actually used by a larger 'service' population.

This article uses Census data to look at the social and economic well-being of these ten fast growing urban centres in 2011, and how they have changed during Australia's 21st century mining boom.

HOW MANY ARE IN THE MINING INDUSTRY?

Between February 1986 and May 2000, the number of people employed in the mining industry in Australia gradually decreased from 109,200 to 74,800. However mining industry employment has more than tripled since, peaking at 276,300 in May 2012.

NUMBER OF PEOPLE EMPLOYED IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
Line graph of number of people employed in the mining industry
Source: Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly (cat. no. 6291.0.55.003)

WHERE ARE AUSTRALIA'S MAJOR MINING TOWNS?

When Australia's urban centres are ranked according to the number of usual residents employed in the mining industry, the top of the list is dominated by cities with over a million people. This is largely because there are many administrative and other 'white collar' workers employed by mining companies in Australia's most populous five cities. However, it is also partly because some usual residents of these cities work at a regional or remote mine on a 'fly-in, fly-out' or 'drive-in, drive-out' basis and consider their home in these cities as their usual residence.

In 2011, Perth was by far Australia's biggest mining town when defined solely by the number of its usual residents working in the mining industry. In 2011, nearly 22% of Australia's mining industry workforce usually resided in Perth, up from 18% in 2006.

URBAN CENTRES WITH THE MOST USUAL RESIDENTS EMPLOYED IN THE MINING INDUSTRY
Dot graph of urban centres with the most usual residents employed in the mining industry
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

With only 5% of the workers who usually lived in Perth in 2011 being employed in the mining industry, Perth is generally not regarded as being a mining town. However, both the financial benefits of mining industry employment and the social impact of 'fly-in, fly-out' and 'drive-in, drive out' working arrangements on partners and children are to some degree concentrated in Perth.

In 2011, most mining industry workers who usually resided in Perth also worked in Perth. Yet substantial numbers travelled long distances to work in remote locations. For example, 16% worked in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and 7% worked in the Goldfields region of Western Australia.

WORKPLACE OF PERTH RESIDENTS EMPLOYED IN THE MINING INDUSTRY(a) IN 2011
Dot graph of Perth residents employed in the mining industry in 2011
(a) In their main job in the week before Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

AUSTRALIA'S 'BOOMING' MINING TOWNS

The remainder of this article focuses on some of the mining towns where 'fly-in, fly-out' and 'drive-in, drive-out' workers, who usually reside in capital or coastal cities such as Perth, Brisbane and Mackay, stay while they are working. In 2011, there were only ten urban centres which could be said to be a 'booming' mining town, based on two criteria:

1. at least a sixth of all employed people who were staying in the urban centre on Census Night worked in the mining industry in their main job in the week before the Census; and

2. they had average annual population growth (based on Census Night counts) of at least 2% between 2006 and 2011.

For all ten of these urban centres, their populations increased by at least double the national rate during this period, ranging from 3.4% per year to 8.6% per year. Seven of these ten urban centres were also high growth mining towns between 2001 and 2006.

Apart from Roxby Downs (near a large copper, uranium, gold and silver ore body in South Australia) and Weipa (on the west coast of Queensland's Cape York Peninsula, mining mainly bauxite), mining towns experiencing strong population influx between 2006 and 2011 were located in either the Pilbara region of north-west Western Australia (mainly iron ore, oil and gas) or the Bowen Basin in central-eastern Queensland (mainly black coal).
Map of Australia showing locations of significant mining towns

HIGH GROWTH MINING TOWNS BETWEEN 2006 and 2011(a)

CENSUS NIGHT POPULATION
CENSUS USUAL RESIDENCE POPULATION


8 August 2006
9 August 2011
Average annual increase
8 August 2006
9 August 2011
Average annual increase
no.
no.
%
no.
no.
%

Karratha (WA)
13 257
20 061
8.6
11 727
16 475
7.0
Roxby Downs (SA)
4 037
5 817
7.6
3 847
4 702
4.1
Newman (WA)
4 746
6 761
7.3
4 246
5 476
5.2
Moranbah (Qld)
8 258
10 439
4.8
7 133
8 628
3.9
Port Hedland (WA)
12 912
16 054
4.5
11 557
13 773
3.6
Weipa (Qld)
3 140
3 823
4.0
2 831
3 331
3.3
Middlemount (Qld)
2 530
3 067
3.9
2 040
1 914
-1.3
Emerald (Qld)
11 471
13 644
3.5
10 999
12 894
3.2
Clermont (Qld)
1 991
2 359
3.5
1 853
2 175
3.3
Dysart (Qld)
3 625
4 284
3.4
3 136
3 005
-0.8
Australia
20 061 648
21 727 160
1.6
19 855 290
21 507 719
1.6

(a) Urban centres which experienced average annual Census enumerated population growth of at least 2% between August 2006 and August 2011, and which also had at least one in six employed people staying in the urban centre on Census Night in 2011 working in the mining industry in their main job in the week before Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

While the number of people staying in these ten urban centres on Census Night (i.e. their Census enumerated populations) increased between 2006 and 2011, the number of people usually residing in them according to the Census (i.e. their Census usual resident populations) either increased at a slower rate or decreased over the same period. Compared with Census Nights in 2001 and 2006, there were more people in the high growth mining towns on Census Night in 2011 who said they usually lived somewhere else.

In the remainder of this article, the characteristics presented that describe the population of an area are always the characteristics of that area's Census Night population (i.e. its Census enumerated population). Especially in the case of the high growth mining towns, their Census Night population better illustrates the actual experience of life in that town than their Census usual resident population portrays.

HOW HAVE THEIR CENSUS NIGHT POPULATIONS CHANGED?

Nationally, 6% of people counted on Census Night in 2011 were not at home on Census Night, similar to 2001 (5%) and 2006 (6%). In contrast, 41% of the people who spent Census Night 2011 in Middlemount in the Bowen Basin were not at home on Census Night, up substantially from 10% in 2001. Dysart, Roxby Downs and Moranbah also experienced considerable increases in the proportion of their Census Night populations who were not at home on Census Night; from just over the national average in 2001 (7%) to 35%, 25% and 23% respectively in 2011.

However, not all of the high growth mining towns had increases of this magnitude. Emerald and Clermont experienced much smaller increases (from 12% in 2001 to 14% and 15% respectively in 2011), while the proportion of Weipa's Census Night population who were not at home on Census Night was slightly lower in 2011 (20%) than it had been in 2001 (21%).

PROPORTION OF THE CENSUS NIGHT POPULATION WHO WERE VISITORS(a)
Bar graph showing proportion of the Census Night population who were visitors
(a) People who reported that they usually lived somewhere other than where they spent Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

More men, fewer older people

Unlike the nation as a whole, where 49% of people were males in 2001, 2006 and 2011, there were more males than females staying in each of the high growth mining towns in 2001, 2006 and 2011. Apart from Weipa, each of the high growth mining towns adopted a more masculine demographic profile between 2001 and 2011. For example, more than two-thirds (68%) of people staying in Middlemount on Census Night in 2011 were male, up from 58% on Census Night in 2001.

PROPORTION OF THE CENSUS NIGHT POPULATION WHO WERE MALE
Bar graph showing proportion of the Census Night population who were male
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

One characteristic of high growth mining towns that hasn't changed is the small proportion of people aged 65 years or older. In 2011, only Clermont had an age structure approaching the national norm with 13% of its Census Night population being 65 years or older. At the other end of the scale, just 1% of people staying in both Roxby Downs and Middlemount were aged 65 or older in 2011, unchanged from 2001 and 2006. The majority (55%) of people staying in the fast growing mining towns on Census Night 2011 were in the prime working age range between 25 and 54 years. People aged between 25 and 34 years were particularly over represented in the high growth mining towns (21%) compared with Australia generally (14%).

AGE DISTRIBUTION OF CENSUS NIGHT POPULATIONS - AUGUST 2011
Bar graph showing age distribution of Census Night populations – August 2011
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

HOW TIGHT ARE THE LABOUR MARKETS?

People aged 15 years or older staying in high growth mining towns on Census Night 2011 had higher labour force participation rates than the rest of Australia. They also had lower unemployment rates. This reflects the relative absence of people of retirement age, and the reasons for staying in these towns (i.e employment and income rather than education, recreation and retirement).

Between 2001 and 2011, the high growth mining towns generally witnessed rising labour force participation rates, unemployment rates declining from relatively low levels to even lower levels, and increasing concentration of jobs in the mining industry. These trends have been accompanied by some non-mining employers reporting difficulty recruiting and retaining employees. (Endnote 1)

SELECTED LABOUR MARKET CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CENSUS NIGHT POPULATION

LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE(a)
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE(b)
EMPLOYED IN THE MINING INDUSTRY(c)



2001
2011
2001
2011
2001
2011
%
%
%
%
%
%

Middlemount (Qld)
79.1
91.6
1.0
1.3
51.5
52.7
Roxby Downs (SA)
83.7
90.2
3.1
1.5
43.9
50.0
Dysart (Qld)
78.6
88.3
3.0
1.8
44.3
50.9
Newman (WA)
81.9
88.0
3.2
2.4
40.9
40.6
Moranbah (Qld)
75.7
87.5
4.3
2.1
44.7
45.8
Karratha (WA)
79.1
87.4
5.0
2.2
13.7
18.5
Weipa (Qld)
80.7
84.6
2.8
2.8
31.8
32.9
Emerald (Qld)
78.2
84.1
4.4
2.3
12.0
23.1
Port Hedland (WA)
72.2
83.0
5.4
3.5
18.7
22.2
Clermont (Qld)
64.4
71.1
5.2
2.5
19.3
30.1
Australia
63.0
65.0
7.4
5.6
0.9
1.8

(a) Employed and unemployed people aged 15 years or older expressed as a proportion of all people aged 15 years or older.
(b) Unemployed people aged 15 years or older expressed as a proportion of all employed and unemployed people aged 15 years or older.
(c) Proportion of all employed people who were employed in the mining industry in their main job in the week before the Census.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

The construction industry is also big

In each of the high growth mining towns, with the exception of Karratha, the mining industry employed more of the 2011 Census Night population than any other industry. In Karratha, where 18% of the employed Census Night population worked mainly in the mining industry, a higher proportion (26%) worked mainly in the construction industry. Construction industry employment in Port Hedland (19%) and Newman (13%) was also noticeably higher than the nationwide average of 8%.

SELECTED INDUSTRIES OF EMPLOYMENT(a) OF CENSUS NIGHT POPULATIONS - AUGUST 2011
Dot graph showing selected industries of employment of Census Night populations – August 2011
(a) In the main job held in the week before Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

To some extent, the construction industry is an ancillary industry to the mining industry. Because of the need to build infrastructure to enable a mining operation to eventually extract, process and transport minerals to buyers, a construction phase usually precedes the mining phase. Strong demand for housing in a high-growth town may also contribute to a relatively elevated level of construction industry employment in that town.

They work longer

Across Australia during the week before Census night in August 2011, employed people whose main job was in the mining industry worked an average of 51 hours in all jobs. This was substantially longer than the average of 35 hours worked by other employed people.

In the high growth mining towns, the disparity between mining industry workers and other workers was not as great because employed people whose main job was not in the mining industry averaged 44 hours in all jobs compared with 50 hours among mining industry workers.

AVERAGE ACTUAL HOURS WORKED IN THE WEEK BEFORE CENSUS NIGHT(a) - AUGUST 2011
Dot graph showing average actual hours worked in the week before Census Night – August 2011
(a) For employed people aged 15 years or older staying in the listed high growth mining town/Australia on Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

A wide range of roster arrangements are worked in the mining industry. Rosters typically consist of a set number of days on-site and a set number of days off-site. An on-site day is typically a 12 hour shift, but can be only 8 hours for some workers at some mines.

The typical length of a roster cycle is usually linked to the distance needed to be travelled to the mine site, with 'drive-in, drive-out' arrangements generally using shorter roster patterns than 'fly-in, fly-out' arrangements. Examples of shift patterns worked in the mining industry are 9 days on 5 days off, and 28 days on 7 days off. (Endnote 1)

However not all mining industry workers work such shift patterns. Some work just Monday to Friday, or a 5 day week out of any 7 days. (Endnote 1)

This diversity of rosters and shift lengths is reflected in the varying number of hours actually worked in the previous week. In 2011, 5% of mining industry workers staying in the high growth mining towns on Census Night had not worked any hours at all in the week before Census Night. Around 14% had worked between 35 and 40 hours, and 30% had worked 60 or more hours.

DISTRIBUTION OF ACTUAL HOURS WORKED BY PEOPLE STAYING IN HIGH GROWTH MINING TOWNS(a) - AUGUST 2011
Bar graph showing distribution of actual hours worked by people staying in high growth mining towns – August 2011
(a) For employed people aged 15 years or older staying in one of the high growth mining towns on Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

The mining industry pays more

Mining industry wages tend to be higher than those paid by other industries, and considerably higher than the minimum wage. In May 2012, average hourly cash earnings of full-time non-managerial adult employees working in the mining industry ($52.30) were higher than comparable earnings of comparable employees working in other industries, especially those working in the retail trade ($25.20) and accommodation and food services ($23.90) industries. At the same time, the adult national minimum wage was $15.51 per hour. (Endnote 2)

AVERAGE HOURLY CASH EARNINGS OF FULL-TIME NON-MANAGERIAL ADULT EMPLOYEES - MAY 2012
Dot graph showing average hourly cash earnings of full-time non-managerial adult employees – May 2012
Source: Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia (cat. no. 6306.0)

Within the mining industry, average hourly cash earnings were higher still for those working in oil and gas extraction ($75.40) and coal mining ($53.80) but lower for those in non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying ($46.10) and exploration and other mining support services ($44.60).

Personal income is high

On Census Night in August 2011, a little under 7% of all people in Australia aged 15 years or older usually received gross weekly personal income of $2,000 or more. A higher proportion (22%) usually received between $1,000 and $1,999, but most (72%) received less than $1,000 per week.

In the high growth mining towns, the distribution of personal income tended to be quite different. Relatively high proportions of people aged 15 years or older staying in these towns on Census Night usually received $2,000 or more per week (ranging from 17% of those staying in Clermont to 40% of those staying in Middlemount), and relatively low proportions received less than $1,000 per week.

DISTRIBUTION OF GROSS WEEKLY PERSONAL INCOME(a) IN AUGUST 2011
Bar graph showing distribution of gross weekly personal income in August 2011
(a) Usually received by people aged 15 years or older staying in the listed high growth mining town/Australia on Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

HOW ARE PEOPLE HOUSED?

Like the rest of Australia, the majority of people who spent Census Night 2011 in the high growth mining towns were accommodated in separate houses (66%). However, people staying in these towns were much more likely to be staying in non-private dwellings such as hotels, motels and staff quarters. In some, more than a quarter of the 2011 Census Night population was housed in staff quarters (e.g. 40% in Middlemount, 32% in Dysart, and 30% in Roxby Downs). Apart from Emerald and Clermont (where less than 1% of their 2011 Census Night populations were housed in staff quarters), at least 5% of people in each of the high growth mining towns were staying in staff quarters. Australia wide, less than 0.5% of people were staying in this type of accommodation in August 2011.

TYPE OF HOUSING IN WHICH PEOPLE(a) SPENT THE NIGHT OF 9 AUGUST 2011
Bar graph showing type of housing in which people spent the night of August 2011
(a) People staying in the listed high growth mining town/Australia on Census Night.
(b) Mainly staff quarters, hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast accommodation in the high growth mining towns. See 'Data sources and definitions' box for a more extensive list of the types of non-private dwellings in which people spent Census Night throughout Australia.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

Housing affordability varies

While the Census does not ask how much people pay to stay in non-private dwellings, it does ask how much rent, mortgage repayments and site fees are paid by households staying in private dwellings.

Compared to Australians in general, people who spent Census Night 2011 in the high growth mining towns were less likely to be staying in a private dwelling that was owned outright (9%), being purchased (19%) or being rented from a private landlord (16%). However, they were far more likely than other Australians to have spent Census Night 2011 in a private dwelling that was being rented from an employer (30%).

PEOPLE BUYING AND RENTING HOUSING - AUGUST 2011
Bar graph showing people buying or renting housing – August 2011
(a) Comprises people staying in the listed location on Census Night in a private dwelling owned with a mortgage or a private dwelling being purchased under a rent/buy scheme.
(b) Comprises people staying in the listed location on Census Night in a private dwelling being rented or a private dwelling being occupied rent-free.
(c) A real estate agent, an unrelated person outside the household, or a related person outside the household.
(d) A government employer (including the Defence Housing Authority), or a non-government employer.
(e) A state or territory housing authority, a housing co-operative, a community group, a church group, a residential park, a caravan park or a marina.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

In August 2011, private dwelling rents varied widely within and between the high growth mining towns. For example, while it tended to cost considerably more to rent a separate house from a private landlord than an employer, the median weekly amount being paid in August 2011 to rent a separate house from a private landlord ranged from $175 in Middlemount to $1,300 in Karratha. At the same time, the median weekly amount being paid to rent a separate house from an employer was lower in each of the high growth mining towns than it was nationwide ($162), ranging from just $20 in Clermont to $154 in Roxby Downs.

MEDIAN WEEKLY RENT PAID FOR A SEPARATE HOUSE BY WHO IT WAS RENTED FROM - AUGUST 2011
Bar graph of median weekly rent paid for separate house by who it was rented from – August 2011
(a) Comprises real estate agents, unrelated persons outside the household, and related persons outside the household.
(b) Comprises government employers (including the Defence Housing Authority) and non-government employers.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

LOOKING AHEAD

Australia's 21st century mining boom could continue for some time. There are significant known deposits of a wide range of mineral, oil and gas resources, and exploration activity has increased known reserves of some of these. (Endnote 3, Endnote 4) Demand for minerals and fuels by the growing economies of Asia has the potential to underpin Australia's mining production and exports during the 'Asian century'.
The location, size and character of tomorrow's mining towns are likely to be influenced by a range of factors. Discoveries of new deposits, extensions of known deposits, and commodity prices are major factors. However, the existence of a mineral deposit and favourable commodity prices does not necessarily mean that it will be mined. In an increasingly competitive and globalised commodity market, multinational mining companies are continuously seeking mineral deposits that will provide attractive returns on their investment. (Endnote 3)

The recommendations and identified areas for action announced by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia in February 2013 may, if adopted, alter the impact of 'fly-in, fly-out' and 'drive-in, drive-out' working arrangements on mining town communities. These recommendations and areas for action include reviewing local government funding and taxation concessions, improving the supply of affordable housing and access to health services, encouraging the provision of tertiary education, training and mining industry jobs for residents of mining towns, and initiating community volunteer days, social contracts, and mandatory 'bus-in, bus-out' policies in some areas.
(Endnote 1)

ADDITIONAL TOPICS

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS IN HIGH GROWTH MINING TOWNS

Some of the high growth mining towns have relatively large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. For example, 19% of Weipa's 2011 Census-night population were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. The Pilbara towns of Port Hedland, Newman and Karratha also had relatively large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in Roxby Downs and the Bowen Basin towns was closer to the 3% national average.

PROPORTION OF THE CENSUS NIGHT POPULATION WHO WERE OF ABORIGINAL OR TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER ORIGIN - AUGUST 2011
Dot graph showing proportion of the Census Night population who were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin – August 2011
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

WOMEN IN HIGH GROWTH MINING TOWNS

While mining is traditionally a male dominated industry, women make up an increasing proportion of people working in this industry. In 1966, only 4% of mining industry workers were women. By 2006, female representation had increased to 15% and in 2011 was higher still (17%).

In the mining industry in 2011, women made up 7% of miners, up from 4% five years earlier. Similar increases were seen in other occupations: women made up 20% of truck drivers (14% in 2006), 26% of geologists (20% in 2006), and 6% of shot firers (4% in 2006). Some jobs in the mining industry are dominated by women: 92% of general clerks in the mining industry were women, along with 90% of accounts clerks, and 99% of personal assistants.

In the high growth mining towns mentioned in this article, just 15% of women were directly employed in the mining industry compared with 40% of men. However, with many men working in the mining industry and a tight labour market, women in these towns were more likely to be in the labour force than the rest of Australia (75% compared with 59%). In addition, many non-mining jobs were dominated by women to a greater extent than in the rest of Australia. For example, in high growth mining towns, 93% of bank workers were women, compared with 72% in the rest of Australia.

ICONIC MINING TOWNS

Some of Australia's historical mining towns have survived the depletion of the mineral deposit that created their initial population boom, evolving into growing regional centres servicing other industries such as agriculture, education, tourism and the arts. In contrast, some of Australia's other historical mining towns have experienced population stagnation, decline or abandonment (e.g. Kiandra in NSW, Mary Kathleen in Qld, and Wittenoom in WA).

Between 2006 and 2011, the number of people in the major mining centres of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Mount Isa on Census Night increased by 1.7% per annum and 1.9% per annum respectively, a little faster than the national growth rate of 1.6% per annum. However there were fewer people counted in Broken Hill on Census Night in 2011 than on Census Night in 2006. Only one in ten employed people staying in Broken Hill on Census Night 2011 were working in the mining industry in their main job in the week before that Census.

POPULATION CHANGE AND MINING INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT IN SELECTED URBAN CENTRES

CENSUS NIGHT POPULATION
WORKING IN THE MINING INDUSTRY(a)


8 August 2006
9 August 2011
Average annual change
8 August 2006
9 August 2011
no.
no.
%
%
%

Broken Hill (NSW)
18 894
18 708
-0.2
9.3
10.0
Cessnock (NSW)
18 209
19 825
1.7
10.0
11.4
Lightning Ridge (NSW)
2 807
1 704
-9.5
8.2
5.0
Ballarat (Vic.)
77 764
85 305
1.9
0.5
0.6
Bendigo (Vic.)
75 420
81 924
1.7
1.1
1.2
Charters Towers (Qld)
8 155
8 603
1.1
12.4
11.6
Mount Isa (Qld)
19 892
21 804
1.9
26.9
30.7
Coober Pedy (SA)
1 869
1 938
0.7
7.0
10.3
Kalgoorlie-Boulder (WA)
29 023
31 524
1.7
22.5
21.0
Queenstown (Tas.)
2 109
2 003
-1.0
29.6
30.2
Australia
20 061 648
21 727 160
1.6
1.2
1.8

(a) Proportion of all employed people aged 15 years or older staying in the listed location on the listed Census Night who were employed in the mining industry in their main job in the week before that Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

MINING INDUSTRY WORKERS IN RURAL AREAS

Not all mining industry workers stayed in an urban centre on Census Night in August 2011. One-quarter (24%) spent the night in rural areas characterised by population clusters of fewer than 1,000 people such as small towns, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, mining camps, and farms. Areas with significant numbers of people in the mining industry in rural areas on Census Night 2011 included East Pilbara, Ashburton and Leinster-Leonora in Western Australia, and Broadsound-Nebo in Queensland.

URBAN/RURAL DISTRIBUTION OF CENSUS NIGHT POPULATIONS - AUGUST 2011
Bar graph showing urban/rural distribution of Census Night populations – August 2011
(a) In their main job in the week before Census Night.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing

EXPLANATORY INFORMATION

Data sources and definitions

Information in this article is mainly from:
  • ABS Census of Population and Housing
  • ABS Labour Force Survey
  • ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours
In very broad terms, an urban centre is generally defined as a population cluster of at least 1,000 usual residents, and a major urban centre is a population cluster of at least 100,000 usual residents. Urban centres are dynamic in that they can expand and absorb nearby population clusters over time. They can also shrink over time. For comprehensive classification criteria used in the 2011 Census, see Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 4 - Significant Urban Areas, Urban Centres and Localities, Section of State, Australia, July 2011 (ABS cat. no. 1270.0.55.004), and for criteria used in earlier Censuses see Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) July 2007 (ABS cat. no. 1216.0).

The Census Night population or Census enumerated population of a geographic area is the number of people the Census counted spending Census Night in that area.

The Census usual residence population of a geographic area is the number of people who usually live in that area. Where a person usually lives is determined by their response to the Census question asking where that person has lived or intends to live for a total of six months or more in that calendar year.

The service population of a geographic area is the number of people accessing the services of that area. It can include daytime, overnight and other short-term visitors in addition to permanent and temporary residents.

Cash earnings is remuneration paid to employees on a regular and frequent basis (quarterly or more frequently) for time worked or work done and for time not worked, such as recreation and other types of leave. Cash earnings (inclusive of amounts salary sacrificed) are gross amounts, that is, before tax and other items (e.g. superannuation) are deducted.

Full-time employees are employees who normally work the agreed or award hours for a full-time employee in their occupation. If agreed or award hours do not apply, employees are regarded as full-time if they usually work 35 hours or more per week.

Employees have been classified as non-managerial if they do not have strategic responsibilities in the conduct or operations of the business and/or are not in charge of a significant number of employees. Non-managerial employees usually have an entitlement to paid overtime.

Adult employees are employees who are 21 years of age or over, and employees under 21 years old who are paid at the full adult rate for their occupation.

Non-private dwellings include hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, nurses' quarters, staff quarters, boarding houses, private hotels, youth hostels, backpacker hostels, ski lodges, boarding schools, residential colleges, halls of residence, hospitals, psychiatric institutions, hostels for the disabled, nursing homes, assisted-living accommodation for the retired or aged, hostels for the homeless, night shelters, refuges, childcare institutions, corrective institutions, other welfare institutions, immigration detention centres, convents, and monasteries.

The median is the middle value of a distribution.

Non response and inadequate response to Census questions have been excluded, or pro-rated across valid categories when necessary, prior to the calculation of all percentages, averages and median values presented in this article.

ENDNOTES

1. Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia, 2013. 'Cancer of the bush or salvation for our cities? Fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workforce practices in Regional Australia' <www.aph.gov.au>

2. National minimum wage <www.fairwork.gov.au>

3. Geoscience Australia 2012 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2011' <www.ga.gov.au>

4. Geoscience Australia 2012 'Oil and Gas Resources of Australia - 2010' <www.ga.gov.au>

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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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