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Published: 23 Feb 2023
MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA
NEWCASTLE BRANCH SECRETARY
24 FEBRUARY 2023
MARITIME WORKERS READY FOR OFFSHORE WIND TRANSFORMATION AT NEWCASTLE
Maritime workers are excited about the opportunities on offer through offshore renewable energy projects being announced up and down the coast of New South Wales, and officials and delegates from the Newcastle branch have welcomed the announcement yesterday by the Federal Labor Government of a renewable energy zone in the Hunter Region and Newcastle Harbour that will deliver hundreds of new seafaring and port services jobs while future proofing Australia’s energy needs with clean, renewable wind power.
Energy Minister Chris Bowen stood alongside Maritime Union officials, local Labor Parliamentarians and the City’s Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, to announce a major offshore renewable energy proposal taking in a large area off the Port of Newcastle reaching from Norah Head to Port Stephens.
Newcastle Branch Secretary Glen Williams was at the announcement and said that “the development of significant offshore wind installations near Newcastle is an opportunity to secure a just transition for Australian workers and communities that have depended on coal for so long. We have the grid infrastructure, the port capacity and most importantly the skilled workforce to make this happen,” he said.
“Maritime workers have honed their skills building some of the world’s largest offshore oil and gas infrastructure and they are ready to pivot now to delivering these crucial renewable energy projects as we decarbonise our economy. Likewise, waterfront workers already handle the turbine blades and towers coming through Australian ports for onshore wind projects, so they are ready to use those skills to build these huge, incredible offshore wind projects too,” he said.
MUA Assistant National Secretary, Adrian Evans, highlighted the importance of state governments working together with the Commonwealth to deliver an offshore renewable energy plan that works for the whole of Australia.
“Doing this the right way is going to take a coordinated national plan. We look forward to working with Federal Ministers like Chris Bowen and Ed Husic, as well as state governments and the offshore wind developers to ensure the port infrastructure, the specialised vessels, the skilled crane operators, the seafarers and the trades are available to build and install these turbines safely, efficiently and quickly. We also strongly believe in the potential for Australian workers to start building more of these parts here locally so that Australian content is maximised at every step of the supply,” Mr Evans said.
The announcement complements similar projects in areas like the Gippsland region of Victoria and comes on the heels of many years of advocacy and policy leadership by the Maritime Union of Australia.
The MUA has spent many years calling for new clean energy jobs, a just transition for workers employed in hydrocarbon industries, and for a comprehensive plan to decommission and clean up disused offshore oil and gas infrastructure from the sea floor around our coast using the skill and experience of Australian seafaring workers.