Collie needs a plan for future: union

Staff reporterSouth Western Times
AMWU secretary Steve McCartney protesting at Albemarle earlier this year.
Camera IconAMWU secretary Steve McCartney protesting at Albemarle earlier this year. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

The State and Federal governments are “still fumbling” to provide support and a plan for Collie workers, according to Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Steve McCartney.

The comments came during a visit from shadow assistant minister for manufacturing and employment services Louise Pratt in Collie earlier this month.

During her visit, Ms Pratt collected data that will form part of the report for the Select Committee Future of Jobs in Regional Areas.

The committee, established in July, will identify new industry and employment opportunities that can be created in regional WA.

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Mr McCartney said workers in Collie were already being made redundant from the transition from coal powered generation.

“Both governments are still fumbling around with answers about where we’re going ahead and what we need to do,” he said.

“What we want to do here is make sure that this is a just transition where workers go from an old economy into a new economy.

“Whether it’s getting into the upstream of the mining industry through the Picton project or it’s through the lithium-based renewable energy.”

Last week Bunbury MLA Don Punch said he hoped the data collected by Ms Pratt would put a focus on the needs of Collie and the South West.

He said to date there had been no funding commitment made by the Commonwealth and urged them to come to the table.

“It’s fundamentally important to make sure workers who are displaced out of power generation and affiliated industry are supported into new opportunities,” he said.

“Particularly ensuring a pathway either through training or alternate employment so people don’t just end up with redundancy packages.”

Ms Pratt said it would be a “no brainer” not to waste Collie’s existing transmission capacity.

“Whether the energy is generated here or elsewhere it means the region can pull the energy into the region or push it out.”

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