In whirlwind over Gippsland turbine jobs ‘sell out’

The wheels, it seems, are already losing the jobs dividend that Gippsland is supposed to get when its power plants close and when it hands over its beautiful coastline to hundreds, if not thousands, of massive wind turbines.

Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien says Barry Beach in South Gippsland should be the main port for operations and maintenance services (OMS), not Hastings, but he fears the government has already “sold Gippsland”.

He concedes that in its “Offshore Wind Implementation Statement 1”, published last week, the government indicates that a role could be assigned to Barry Beach, but it is far from guaranteed.

Here is what the report says:

“The assessment of ports and port infrastructure by the Government of Victoria is underway. Preliminary analysis suggests that Barry Beach (Gippsland) and the Port of Portland are existing port sites that can be upgraded to support the supply of OMS to industry.

Mr O’Brien says if Barry Beach, and not Hastings, were at the center of the project, hundreds if not thousands of jobs would indeed come to Gippsland.

But not if Hastings gets the lion’s share.

Here’s what he had to say this week:

“Andrews’ Labor Government has already sold Gippsland for offshore wind development with a government document designating the Port of Hastings as the state government’s preferred port for offshore wind construction and development. “

Gippsland South Nationals member Danny O’Brien said he was surprised that just days after the Prime Minister made empty promises about restarting the State Electricity Commission (SEC) and setting up jobs for Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley, the truth had been revealed. .

“The State Government’s Offshore Wind Implementation Statement makes it clear that Labour’s preferred port to support offshore wind construction is the Port of Hastings.

“This despite the fact that the vast majority of proposed offshore wind farms are currently planned off 90 Mile Beach and are therefore much closer to Barry Beach. Labor is clearly looking for a dividend in the Tube and is heading to Hastings instead. »

Mr O’Brien said it mocked the Government’s claims that it supported jobs and economic benefits in Gippsland.

“If the government decides to order offshore wind companies to use the government-owned port of Hastings, the benefits for workers and businesses in Gippsland to engage in the construction phase are significantly reduced.

“The work would exclude Gippsland from the best potential benefits of the massive developments proposed off our own coasts.

“Ultimately private companies will make their own decisions as to which ports to use, but it is hugely disappointing that the Victorian government is hijacking business from Gippsland.

Mr O’Brien also noted that the document states that offshore wind transmission lines at agreed “connection points” will have to be underground.

“While this is welcome, it makes no mention of the additional transmission lines needed to get back to the grid.”

Mr O’Brien said the offshore wind implementation statement raised a number of questions for Andrews’ Labor government to answer:

• How will the Latrobe Valley and Sale, which are transitioning out of coal, oil and gas, benefit if Hastings is to be the offshore wind hub?

• If companies are required to bury their transmission lines to a connection point, why shouldn’t the transmission lines also be buried to the grid?

• The government says that VicGrid will coordinate the development of the transmission lines, if so, what is it doing with AusNet which already offers its own transmission line?

Mr O’Brien said Daniel Andrews was deliberately misleading the people of Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley on the eve of an election yet again and he needed to be clear.

“I think the development of offshore wind farms offers great opportunities for us, but there are also many challenges to overcome.

“While we are to endure the downsides of new energy developments, we must also be able to reap the rewards of jobs and investment in our region, not some distant port.”

The government document is available here: https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/a-clean-energy-future/offshore-wind-energy

Figure above: This figure in the Labor Mobility Report (page 21) highlights where Labor thinks former power and oil and gas workers will need to move to work in the offshore wind.

About Aaron J. Williams

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