Australia's energy sector includes electricity generation (fossil fuel based and renewable), coal mining, gas and oil extraction, liquid fuel refining and distribution, gas supply and energy services.
The sector employed more than 100 000 people in 2009–10 and contributed $68.2 billion of gross value added to the economy. Many of these jobs are in regional Australia, making the sector critical for the sustainability of regional areas.
In 2010–11, Australian energy exports reached $69 billion or around one-third of total commodity exports (BREE 2011a:12). Coal is Australia's largest energy export earner, followed by crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Table 2.1 shows the contribution of Australia's energy sector to the economy.
Table 2.1: Energy-related industries in Australia, 2009–10
| ||Gross value added ($b)||Employment '000|
|Oil and gas extraction||27.0||15|
|Petroleum and coal product manufacturing||1.8||6|
|Total—Australia economy-wide||1 320.1||11 354.5|
Source: ABS (2011a, b).