A global shift to renewable energy would see 1,750 long-term secure jobs created in Collie and 5,000 new jobs across Western Australia, a new Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) report has found. 

BZE’s ‘Collie at the Crossroads – Planning a future beyond coal’ report shows that the rapid rollout of renewable energy in Western Australia could develop new industries and jobs in renewables manufacturing, sustainable building materials and advanced recycling. 

Vanessa Patrie, CEO, Beyond Zero Emissions, said: “WA has some of the most skilled energy workers in the world, as well as some of the best renewable energy resources. The huge potential for WA to lead the transition to modern, renewables-powered industry and its expert workers are a perfect match.” 

“There’s a big pipeline of wind and solar projects planned for WA. This wave of investment will need services and support from local industry to succeed,” said Ms Petrie. 

Recent closure announcements and job losses in Collie’s coal industry have highlighted the need to make urgent plans for the future of the town’s workers. 

Greg Busson, Secretary of the CFMEU Western Australian District Mining and Energy Division said: “Collie’s coal workers have kept the lights on in WA for decades and deserve to be supported as the energy system changes. Serious planning has to start now to make sure there are well-paid work and training opportunities ready for the community into the future.

“Collie’s coal workers have a proud tradition of unionism, which has given them a voice in the industry. It’s vital that workers, through their unions, are involved in planning for the energy transition to ensure workers’ and community needs are front and centre, said Mr Busson.

Shire of Collie President, Cr Sarah Stanley said: “There is an exciting opportunity for Collie to play a leading role in driving new opportunities that are sustainable for workers, their community and the environment in the long term.

“The Shire commends Beyond Zero in considering the impacts on Collie’s community as well as our strategic advantages in producing a report that demonstrates there are opportunities for our highly skilled workers and makes practical suggestions for the ways government can help drive investment in sustainable industries as well as support workers and community.”

Report author, Lachlan Rule said: “Collie has an incredibly exciting range of economic possibilities at its fingertips.  Its infrastructure, skills, natural resources and location make it a great spot to develop a lot of sustainable industries WA currently lacks.”

“Collie at the Crossroads show the opportunities that renewables can open up for WA and Collie, but we must act quickly to seize this opportunity. The state government must work closely with the community to build trust, plan for a future beyond coal and set the town up to succeed in coming decades,” said Rule. 

For interviews, contact Vanessa Petrie at  0478 218 999 or vanessa.petrie@bze.org.au 

Note to editors: 

A Perth launch of the report will be held on Thursday 28th November 2019, 12-1 pm at 137 St Georges Terrace, Perth 6000. Speakers include Peter Newman AO, Curtin University; Vanessa Petrie, CEO, Beyond Zero Emissions; and Jaime Yallup Farrant, Climate Justice Union convenor. RSVP to chrstine.finlay@curtin.edu.au. 

About Beyond Zero Emissions 

Beyond Zero Emissions is an internationally recognised climate change think tank. We produce independent and innovative research solutions demonstrating that a zero emissions Australia is achievable and affordable now. Our reports provide detailed pathways for a ten-year transition in each major sector of Australia’s economy.

BEYOND ZERO EMISSIONS

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an internationally recognised climate change think tank, providing independent and ambitious climate change solutions for Australia.

Our flagship research shows how all sectors of the Australian economy can decarbonise, repower and benefit from the transition to zero emissions. These Zero Carbon Australia plans cover renewable energy and electricity; energy efficient buildings; sustainable transport; agriculture, farming and land use; and industry.

Through volunteer-powered research we show that a thriving, zero emissions society is achievable and affordable now, and that Australia can become a renewable energy superpower.