One of the most active trade unions is asking the Queensland Government to postpone approving renewable energy developments until workers are given a fair chance to move on.
The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) is concerned about CS Energy’s decision to close its 700 megawatt Callide B Coal Power Station 10 years earlier at Dumgree, 114km southwest of Gladstone.
Workers face the chop
The decision means more than 100 staff could be let go when the station finally closes its doors in the year 2028. CS Energy previously hoped to close its doors sometime in the years 2038 or 2039. However, Fairfax Media reports the National Electricity Market is pushing out a growing number of coal power stations to make way for renewable energy developments.
“With the whole world screaming for action on climate change this Queensland Government has a real chance to highlight how, when done collaboratively and in conjunction with a proper just transition plan, we can transition to renewable forms of energy and it can be done with minimal impacts on regional jobs and towns,” ETU state organiser Jason Young said in a public statement. “Sadly, though this government is too busy chasing headlines on temporary jobs and solar farms. We urge them to end the spin and lock in just transition plans now.”
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Job security needed
Young suggests the State Government can ensure the Just Transition Authority works with public-owned generator CleanCo to identify the scale and scope of investment required going forward to provide a responsible, diversified public-owned renewable energy sector that provides jobs and job security where they are needed.
“The Queensland Government, unlike others who have sold off their public assets to private profiteers, has a massive opportunity to show leadership in this space but the time is now, we will not allow our members and their communities to be left in the dark when it comes to their jobs and the future of their towns,” he said. “One thing is for sure, if nothing is done now there will not be a reliable, relatively cheap power network in Queensland within five years.”