Gold: The Foundation for Building our Nation

OUT AND ABOUT: Members of the Gold Industry Group gathered at the Perth Mint recently for the presentation of results from a study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics into the gold industry.

Releasing the details, Deloitte Access Economics partner Matt Judkins said the study unveiled the gold industry’s contribution to Australia’s history, economic development and social advancement.

“From the 1850s, the demand for gold has helped grow, sustain and define Australia,” Judkins told the gathered gold bugs.

“During the early gold rush decades in Western Australia and Victoria the population grew at a faster rate than the country’s entire populace during the 100 years to 2011.

“The rush for gold also led to the development of major infrastructure such as Australia’s first train, major highways, shipping ports and the Golden Pipeline.”

Judkins said the research had affirmed the gold industry’s importance to the sustainability, social fabric and financial future of the nation and its most remote regional communities.

“There are currently 66 operating gold mines in Australia including 14 of the world’s largest, 11 of which are in Western Australia,” he continued.

“More than 80,000 people live in gold mining towns or regions across the country with some 26,000 people directly employed by this sector.”

Gold Mining is anticipated to be a major economic contributor in the coming financial year, which is expected to be spawned by generation of wealth and creation of jobs.

Gold mining is forecast to contribute more than $13.4 billion to the economy this financial year.

Of all expenditure on mineral exploration in Australia, gold explorers and miners invested close to 50 per cent, which was valued at $617.6 million last year.

Also speaking at the event, Gold Industry Group chairperson and Perth Mint chief executive officer Richard Hayes said the research clearly demonstrates the importance of the gold industry to the nation’s economic prosperity.

“Australia is the world’s largest producer of gold after China,” Hayes declared.

“In 2016, we produced more than 280 tonnes, 70 per cent of which was mined in Western Australia.

“This would make the State the 5th largest gold producer globally if it were a country.”

The true believers in the room were told of gold’s societal contributions, which include supporting local communities by way of funding medical research, sustaining educational and community programs, and providing vital emergency services.

According to the Deloitte report, gold can take credit for many of the nation’s historical decisions.

Convict transportation wound up in 1853 as apparently the British Crown did not wish to provide the criminal classes with the chance of striking it lucky via free passage to the newly-found gold.

By 1861, Victoria had the highest literacy rates globally, as the more genteel of society, those with the means to arrange their own passage, arrived to enhance their fortune from the Gold Rush.

In 1861, Archer won the first Melbourne Cup, with the event born from growing wealth and demand for entertainment flowing from the Victorian Gold Rush.

The report even established gold industry links to Federation, when an initially reluctant Western Australia agreed to the union in 1901.

The vote for Western Australia to join the Federation was apparently swung by a high percentage of eastern-Australians, who had migrated to join the West’s Gold Rush.

Just as well daylight saving wasn’t on the agenda back then.