A survey of Queensland Resources Council (QRC) member company CEOs in February 2021 showed resources companies are actively looking at new technologies such as hydrogen to reduce emissions and grow their business in a sustainable way.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said more than two-thirds of the CEOs surveyed are thinking about hydrogen-related opportunities, and 10 per cent are already committed to projects involving hydrogen.
“In a clear sign hydrogen will play a role in Queensland’s response to the global challenge of climate change, 33 per cent of CEOs believe hydrogen will provide an opportunity to reduce emissions in their own business, and a further 33 per cent see hydrogen as an opportunity for growth.”
Mr Macfarlane said the sector’s interest in hydrogen supports Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to appoint a dedicated Hydrogen Industry Development Minister, Mick de Brenni.
“I’m also pleased to have been invited by Minister de Brenni to serve on the Ministerial Energy Council, which provides the resources sector with an opportunity to engage with the Government and other stakeholders in the critical area of energy policy.”
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, the number of jobs in Queensland’s mining sector (including gas extraction) increased by 15 per cent over the 12 months to February 2021 – the fourth-highest level of any industry.
Mr Macfarlane said 24 per cent of the CEOs who responded to the survey planned to increase employment at their Queensland operations over the next 12 months, with half expecting to increase their workforce by more than 25 per cent.
“This response from our CEOs is a huge vote of confidence in the resources sector which benefits every Queenslander through a stronger state economy and more jobs,” he said.
Mr Macfarlane added that maintaining a ‘people first’ approach to COVID-19 and following Chief Health Officer protocols has helped keep Queensland communities safe and allowed the resources sector to keep working, earning and employing its way through the pandemic.
“Resources companies are now also looking at how to best support the government’s state-wide vaccine roll-out to ensure people living and working in regional communities are vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.
Three-quarters of member CEOs who responded to the QRC survey said they will consider providing employees with information about vaccination benefits and risks; two-thirds will arrange for employees to be vaccinated voluntarily during work hours; and almost one in ten said they will consider incentivising employees to be vaccinated voluntarily.
Moreover, for the sixth consecutive quarter, the QRC report found the number one area of concern keeping CEOs awake at night was the volatility of the global economy.
Sharing equal second place is concern about poor regulation including regulatory uncertainty, and problems raising capital, with the link between the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance of companies and their ability to capital-raise consistently raised as a major issue.