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Big year for coal ends with record exports

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FOR PRESS ; 1207


Statement "by the Minister for National Development, The Hon. David Fairbairn, M.P.

The "black coal mining industry of Australia closes

down today for its Christmas vacaYvioh after undoubtedly

the most successful year in its history.

New records have "been set in production, consumption,

exports and productivity.

Equally important, the average earnings of mineworkers

and their general conditions of employment have never "been


The combination of industrial harmony and prosperous

conditions is a far cry from what applied in the industry not

so long ago and I extend the warmest congratulations to all

who have contributed to bringing about one of the most

remarkable transformations that have occurred in any

Australian industry.

Within the memory of many of us the coal industry was

a problem to the nation and a problem to itself. But the

dissension, shortages and backward methods that were so much

a feature of earlier years are now virtually completely

removed. Today the industry is prosperous and unified, is

meeting the notion’s needs in full and is earning large

amounts of foreign exchange.

The results of the industry’s re-organisation are to be

seen in its achievements during 1 9 6 4 »

Total Australian production of black coal in 1964 set a

new record at 2 7 , 4 million tons5 an increase of almost 2- g -

million tons in 1963· This resulted from an increase of

1,7 million tons in the production from New South Wales,

6 GO,000 tons in Queensland and 200,000 tons in South Australia,

The overseas export situation was particularly

gratifying in 1 9 6 4 and again a new record was reached. Total

exports rose during the year by more than 1 , 5 million tons

from 3 ,1 7 4 ,0 0 0 tons in 1963 to an estimated 4 ,7 2 5 ,0 0 0 tons

in 1964, Exports from New South Wales ports showed a

remarkable increase during the year of nearly 1 ,0 0 0 ,0 0 0 tons

to reach the figure at 3,675,000 tons for the year.

Queensland's exports more than doubled from 451,000 tons in

1 9 6 3 to on estimated 1,050,000 tons for 1964. Most of the

exported coal went to Japan. The magnitude of Japan’s buying

is illustrated by the fact that in the four weeks ended

November 28, New South Wales exported 458,000 tons of which

410,000 tons went to Japan,

One of the most pleasing features of the industry during

1964 was a rise of nearly 10 per cent in productivity

expressed in terms of output per manshift. As the year ends,

the total workforce in the industry is slightly lower than

at this time last year hut unemployment in the industry is

very low and confined to a few areas. Elsewhere there are

unfilled vacancies*

Some sections of the cool industry still face loss of

markets due to competition from other fuels, nevertheless,

consumption of block cool in 1964 rose by 1,000,000 tons in

New South Wales and was also up in Queensland and South

Australia, The remarkable growth of coal usage in New South

. Wales was almost entirely due to increased consumption by

electric power generating stations and by the iron and steel


For the Australian black coal industry, 1964 has been

a year of progress and consolidation. The coming year should be no less successful and all those concerned can take pride

in the knowledge that they have earned the thanks of the

nation for a most creditable performance*


December 13. 19^4 - P.M