AMWU say plans to import 120 turbine towers for two major wind farm projects in NSW will endanger up to 500 skilled manufacturing jobs across the country.The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has expressed concerns that a local subsidiary of Chinese wind farm developer Goldwind plans to import 56 out of 73 towers for the Gullen Range project, north-west of Goulburn, while REpower Australia aims to import all 64 wind towers for its Mount Mercer scheme.
NSW Acting State Secretary, Steve Murphy, this week said the plans were an insult to the local manufacturing sector which was already under severe pressure from the high dollar and overseas competition.
Mr Murphy said it beggared belief that the original idea for boosting local green jobs under the Renewables Energy Target was being forsaken.
“The local manufacturing industry has the capacity and Australian workers certainly have the skills to complete infrastructure for high-tech projects like these,” Mr Murphy said.
“But government and industry must help level the playing field as we have facilities and workers in Western Sydney ready and able to complete this work.”
“Renewable energy projects are important investments in new technology and there should be efforts made to ensure these projects invest in skills for the future. Other countries around the world have policies in place to boost their renewables sector but currently the local industry is being ignored,” he said.
AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian said the plans furthered the need for government to back recommendations from the Prime Minister’s Manufacturing Taskforce and its recommendations for introducing strong anti-dumping laws and toughening industry participation plans.
“Decisions like these to shun local content come amid already tough news that Australian manufacturing has contracted 1.2 points and has lost 125,000 jobs since the GFC and is predicted to lose 85,000 more in the next five years unless action is taken,” Mr Bastian said.
“Both the NSW and Federal Government should be imposing local participation targets on REpower and Goldwind and all other comers to this sector to ensure Australia reaps the benefits of burgeoning renewables sector.”