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Western Australia


70% income hit shows coal-power workers need transition support

October 23, 2023

New data showing coal-fired power workers face a dramatic decline in income after power stations close demonstrates the need for targeted support, the Mining and Energy Union said today.

Modelling released by the e61 Institute shows that coal-fired power station workers take a 69% income hit in the first year and still earn 50% less four years after a power station closes.

MEU General President Tony Maher said that with all of Australia’s coal-fired power stations due to close in order to meet net zero targets, coal-power workers and the communities that host power stations should not be left to shoulder the economic burden of energy transition.

“This data will come as no surprise to residents in traditional coal-power regions like Latrobe Valley or Lithgow still reeling years after power station closures,” said Mr Maher.

“We know that we are facing a succession of closures in the years and decades ahead and that workers in those power stations are anxious about the future.

“One of the ways to keep our skilled power station workers in the jobs they are trained for is through redeployment schemes which provide a pathway for redundant workers to transfer to power stations with longer operating timeframes.

“As we work towards building the industries of the future, the current workforce faces immediate upheaval.

“A scheme that requires power station operators to provide pathways for displaced workers with the skills, experience and desire to continue working in the industry is a small but critical step towards averting further economic pain in our coal energy regions.

“A pooled redeployment scheme must be part of the Government’s climate change planning to uphold their commitment that no-one will be left behind.” 

Tony Maher is a member of the Net Zero Economy Agency Advisory Board.

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