Still plenty of opportunities as boom takes a breather
THE Australian media seems as obsessed with the end of the mining boom as it is with Shane Warne's latest love affair - both topics make for a sexy news story.
But as Golding Contractors chief executive Geoff Caton told his audience yesterday, a calmer look at the facts is needed.
"The key lesson for us today is that the nature of the boom changes over time," he said.
"The easy gains from increasing (commodity) prices are probably gone and future growth will be delivered through volume (of exports).
"That's not to say prices won't increase again, but certainly that peak we saw in 2011, those were heady days.
Mr Caton said a slight cooling of the economic frenzy seen over the past decade did not spell the end of a prosperous resources sector.
He said the trend in China and India pointed clearly to a solid future.
Mr Caton had a simple message for the industry leaders in his audience: instead of panicking about the end of the boom, they needed to get better at what they did.
"Future economic growth is very much dependent on us improving our productivity,'' he said.
"Leadership, technology, skills seem to me like the best places to start."
He said, despite some dire predictions recently, there would be no shortage of opportunity.
The silver lining
Mr Caton said a slight cooling of the major projects landscape might at least make life simpler for companies "scrambling" to find workers and equipment.
"In Gladstone here today, we are hiring (equipment) from all over Australia," he said.
"With the WICET job, the market for earthmoving equipment when that project started was just about exhausted.
"There is stuff there (we brought in) from Adelaide, for example.
"So that has taken a lot longer than normal to get it to site and to market. So, the ramp up phase (for major projects) is difficult."
At the conference today:
- Arrow Energy
- Fitzroy Terminal
- Wiggins Island Rail Project
- Respected Westpac economist Bill Evans will be giving his take on where our economy is headed.