Not so long ago I had the opportunity to address a Queensland Day rally. In fact this year was the 160th birthday of Queensland, as its official separation from New South Wales as an independent colony was on 6 June 1859. At this Queensland Day rally I had the opportunity to meet with, speak with and show my support to the thousands of Queenslanders and Australians employed by the mining and resources sector as part of recognising and celebrating the contribution of mining and resources to our great state and country.
For decades, mining and resources have been the backbone of the Queensland economy. Over 300,000 Queensland jobs are supported by resources. In 2017-18 alone, mining and resources contributed $5.2 billion in wages for Queensland workers; $4.3 billion in royalties to pay for our schools, hospitals and roads; and a total of $69.9 billion to the Queensland economy. That's $1 in every $5 of the Queensland economy and one in every eight jobs provided, thanks to mining and resources. It's not hard to see why mining is so important to Queensland. On top of this, the mining and resources sector has a supply chain of over 14,000 Queensland businesses and assists with more than 1,200 community organisations.
It seems like every day that the latest national economic data is showing Australia's economy weakening, with the slowest growth in a decade and, sadly, living standards continuing to fall. This government, however, seems not to be bothered by this. Even calls from the Reserve Bank governor to give the economy the boost it so desperately needs have gone unheard and ignored. Despite this, the mining and resources sector continues to provide stability not only in my home state of Queensland but right across the country.
In May 2019, Australia's world-class resource sector generated a record high of $24.9 billion in export earnings for the nation, or 60 per cent of total export income. This was also a record-breaking month for Australian iron ore exports, which accounted for $8.8 billion in export earnings. In fact, the ABS monthly figures show that in the first five months of the calendar year 2019 compared with 2018 iron ore exports increased by 35.4 per cent to $34.6 billion; coal exports by seven per cent to $27.5 billion; and LNG exports by 45.1 per cent to $20.7 billion. In the same period, total resources and energy exports increased by 19.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2018, to $115.8 billion.
But we must not take these figures for granted. We must ensure that Canberra and governments of all persuasions back in our resources sector and regional communities to support the economy, support jobs and support our councils that are doing it tough. We must strengthen our ties and commitments to our communities and our councils to make sure that they keep delivering for our mining communities.
There are many bodies who already provide leadership in this area, like the Minerals Council of Australia, and I offer my welcome and congratulations to the newly appointed chair of the Minerals Council, the Hon. Helen Coonan. The council has a long history of not only supporting traditional mining but also leading the sector in the 21st century with initiatives like hosting the Women in Mining and Resources Leadership Summit in Perth next month to help drive the business case for diversity and inclusion in Australia's world-class resource sector.
It's not just the Minerals Council who are taking these innovative steps. In an Australian first for the mining industry, Peabody Australia has recently announced eShepherd, an innovative technology to assist in cattle grazing trials on rehabilitated land. The industry's innovation doesn't just stop there. Even as the country moves forward towards more renewable energy, the demand and need for mining will remain strong. Electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage technologies all require a complex mix of metals, many of which have previously been mined only in small amounts. These include cobalt; nickel; lithium for batteries used for electric vehicles and storage; and rare earth metals for permanent magnets, electric vehicles and some wind turbines and solar panels. There is no renewable future that does not include a strong mining and resources sector.
Following the 2019 election, I've been working alongside my friends the member for Hunter, the member for Brand and the member for Burt to work closer with our mining and resource industry to ensure their voices are heard and listened to. Today I recommit to listening to the voices of miners and those who work in our mighty resource industry. I'm proud to say I'm a friend of the mining and resources sector and will continue to support the industry in my role as a federal member so that Queenslanders and all Australians continue to enjoy the standard of living we have today and we provide the jobs of tomorrow in mining.
I would like to add in conclusion that today is the last day of one of the attendants here, Mr Peyton Butler. I'd like to thank him for his service. I know all members wish Peyton and his family the best for the years ahead.
Honourable members: Hear, hear!