Gas sector to replace mining as Australia’s main growth driver

Gas sector to replace mining as Australia’s main growth driver

Liquefied natural gas tanker.

Australia's mining sector will soon be placed in the backburner of the country’s economic growth drivers as a new study published by Deloitte Monday identified at least five new areas that are set to overtake the resources industry’s current position.

In Deloitte's report "Positioning for Prosperity? Catching the next wave" the experts identify 25 sectorial hotspots with the biggest potential to lift Australia’s growth trajectory over the next 20 years.

From that list, Deloitte identifies five key sectors set to cash in on Asia's growth and keep Australia near the top of the world’s prosperity charts. These include gas, agribusiness, tourism, international education and wealth management.

Together, these "Fantastic Five" sectors could add $250 billion to the economy over the next two decades, potentially matching mining, which now makes up about 10% of the country's economy.

The nation's output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is expected to increase by 250% between now and 2017-18.

"If we achieve that, we could surpass Qatar to become the world's top LNG producer," the consulting firm said.

More than $200 billion of gas infrastructure is under construction and up to another $180 billion in gas projects are being considered.

If all these proposals go ahead, they could create 150,000 jobs and deliver tax revenue of $5 billion a year.

While the study predicts that the oil and gas industry will soon make up about 2% of Australia's economy, it also acknowledges that mining will remain “a genuine growth wave” for the economy.

Amid predictions for continuing falls for commodities prices, Deloitte also says the sheer size of the mining sector will ensure it remains central to the national economy for many years to come.

One of the key challenges the country faces, notes the study, is the ability to extend the boom for as long as possible, and overcome regulation and taxation hurdles.

Image by Oleksandr Kalinichenko.