How to turn WA’s coal hub into a renewable industry leader

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Image Credit: bze.org.au
Media Release

A global shift to renewable energy would see 1,750 long-term secure jobs created in Collie and 5,000 new jobs across Western Australia, a new Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) report has found.

BZE’s ‘Collie at the Crossroads – Planning a future beyond coal’ report shows that the rapid rollout of renewable energy in Western Australia could develop new industries and jobs in renewables manufacturing, sustainable building materials and advanced recycling.

Vanessa Patrie, CEO, Beyond Zero Emissions, said: “WA has some of the most skilled energy workers in the world, as well as some of the best renewable energy resources. The huge potential for WA to lead the transition to modern, renewables-powered industry and its expert workers are a perfect match.”

“There’s a big pipeline of wind and solar projects planned for WA. This wave of investment will need services and support from local industry to succeed,” said Ms Petrie.

Recent closure announcements and job losses in Collie’s coal industry have highlighted the need to make urgent plans for the future of the town’s workers.

Greg Busson, Secretary of the CFMEU Western Australian District Mining and Energy Division said: “Collie’s coal workers have kept the lights on in WA for decades and deserve to be supported as the energy system changes. Serious planning has to start now to make sure there are well-paid work and training opportunities ready for the community into the future.

“Collie’s coal workers have a proud tradition of unionism, which has given them a voice in the industry. It’s vital that workers, through their unions, are involved in planning for the energy transition to ensure workers’ and community needs are front and centre, said Mr Busson.

Shire of Collie President, Cr Sarah Stanley said: “There is an exciting opportunity for Collie to play a leading role in driving new opportunities that are sustainable for workers, their community and the environment in the long term.

“The Shire commends Beyond Zero in considering the impacts on Collie’s community as well as our strategic advantages in producing a report that demonstrates there are opportunities for our highly skilled workers and makes practical suggestions for the ways government can help drive investment in sustainable industries as well as support workers and community.”

Report author, Lachlan Rule said: “Collie has an incredibly exciting range of economic possibilities at its fingertips. Its infrastructure, skills, natural resources and location make it a great spot to develop a lot of sustainable industries WA currently lacks.”

“Collie at the Crossroads show the opportunities that renewables can open up for WA and Collie, but we must act quickly to seize this opportunity. The state government must work closely with the community to build trust, plan for a future beyond coal and set the town up to succeed in coming decades,” said Rule.

Image Credit: bze.org.au