Federal Decommissioning Roadmap delivers secure future for clean climate maritime jobs

Published: 14 Sep 2023






With the emergence of a new offshore industry worth as much as $60Bn over the next 30 to 50 years, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed an announcement by Federal Minister for Resources, Madeleine King MP, yesterday that will achieve a number of important outcomes as Australia progresses towards a Net Zero by 2050.


The MUA has been a long-term advocate for action on climate change that protects skilled, rewarding and long-term blue-collar employment. An essential element of the transition to large-scale wind and solar installations is the responsible and thorough decommissioning and removal of disused oil and gas infrastructure, especially offshore where it represents a significant risk to the environment if neglected.


The Government’s launch of an Issues Paper and the commencement on consultation for a Decommissioning Roadmap are welcome advances towards these important climate and environmental outcomes, but also a boon for maritime workers who can now look forward to sustainable and rewarding work opportunities dismantling and removing these massive installations as they come offline over the coming decades.


“Maritime workers, alongside construction and electrical trades workers, built the offshore oil and gas industry with their hard work and skill honed over generations. Now we have the opportunity to work towards clean climate energy infrastructure as these installations reach their end of life and need to be removed and recycled,” said Adrian Evans, the MUA’s Assistant National Secretary.


This work will be well paid, highly skilled regional employment that will sustain communities and local economies while supporting the transition of the existing offshore workforce as Australia reduces its dependence on the extractive hydrocarbon industry.


The MUA has been engaged at an early stage by the Labor Federal Government, after the union had adopted a significant public advocacy role during the life of the previous Government. The MUA has campaigned for legislative and regulatory reform to secure the future of offshore maritime work and protect the delicate coastal environments where disused or abandoned offshore oil and gas infrastructure was being allowed to rot by resources companies and the former Morrison Liberal Government. Australian law now requires that the offshore resources industry pays all costs associated with decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure.


“Establishing a decommissioning industry in Australia will provide immense economic opportunities and create well-paid jobs in regional communities,” Minister King told Parliament yesterday. “We want to build an industry to service not just ageing offshore oil and gas assets in Australia, but also meet future demand for sustainably decommissioning offshore windfarms at the end of their productive life,” Minister King added.


The Government estimates the new decommissioning industry could be worth as much as $60 billion over the next 30 to 50 years.


“We can now look forward to the jobs that will flow from this commitment to establishing shared infrastructure such as membrane protected yards, securing the vessels required to undertake the work, and the effective monitoring of abandoned fields. We are also well positioned to contribute to the 'Roadmap's' standards of training and qualifications which will ensure delivery of the highest worker safety, as well as the long term skills development and employment opportunities for our members on offer as we transition to clean energy infrastructure around our coast,” he added.





Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney