11th October 2019
11th October 2019

Celebrating 70 years of portable long service leave

This month marks the 70th anniversary of Australia’s first portable long service leave benefit, administered by Coal LSL. To date, it is also the only nationally regulated portable long service leave scheme in Australia.

The entitlement was introduced for Australian black coal employees on 14 October 1949 to retain skilled labour in an industry that encountered challenging working conditions and extensive worker movement between employers. Portable long service leave for Australia’s black coal mining industry was later preserved in Commonwealth legislation and has since inspired the establishment of portable long service leave in other Australian industries (1).

For 70 years this provision has supported skills retention in one of the most difficult but significant industries contributing to Australia’s economy. The metallurgical and thermal coal sectors in which Coal LSL’s clients work are Australia’s third and fourth largest export commodities respectively (2,3). They are projected to contribute a combined $55 billion to the national economy in 2020–21 (3).

Retaining the skilled coal mining workforce has also assisted Australia in earning the reputation of being a world leader in mining innovation and mining services (4).

Chair Brad Neven said, ‘We are proud of our role as an exemplary nationally portable long service leave scheme which supports Australia’s black coal mining industry in its significant contribution to the national economy and infrastructure.’

Coal LSL connects employers and employees with their long service leave and manages $1.83 billion in funds for 118,950 eligible employees and 780 registered employers (5).

Quick facts

  • Australia’s first commodity export was in 1799 and it was a coal export out of Newcastle Harbour. Read more...
  • Just outside the Coal LSL office is Newcastle Harbour, the largest working port in the southern hemisphere and the world’s largest coal exporting port.
  • Today, the metallurgical and thermal coal sectors in which our clients work are Australia’s third and fourth largest export commodities respectively. They are projected to contribute a combined $55B to the national economy in 2020–21. Read more in the Resources and Energy Quarterly and Australia’s National Resources Statement.
  • The introduction of the benefit in 1949 inspired the establishment of portable long service leave in other Australian industries. However, Coal LSL is still the only nationally regulated portable scheme.
  • In October it’s exactly 220 years since Australia’s first coal export and, as our nationally portable long service leave scheme also celebrates its 70th anniversary at this time, it means coal miners worked in pretty tough conditions for quite a while before their resilience and contribution to the national economy were recognised.

Timeline graphic FINAL

Sources

  1. Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee Parliament of Victoria (2016), Inquiry into portability of long service leave entitlements (p.5) Read
  2. Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2019 (Foreword) Read
  3. Resources and Energy Quarterly, June 2019 (Resources and Energy Overview) Read
  4. Australia’s National Resources Statement (no publication date) Read and The Next Frontier: Australian Mining Policy Priorities, Minerals Council of Australia, February 2019 (p. 3) Read
  5. At 30 June 2019, Coal LSL Annual Report 2018-19.

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Our periodic updates provide useful information for employers administering the long service leave legislation for their eligible employees.