Change District


Northern Mining & NSW Energy

NSW South Western




Western Australia


New Authority to support power station workers

April 30, 2024

Eraring power station operator Scott King travelled to Canberra this week to urge MPs to pass legislation to establish a new independent Authority to support power station workers and communities.

With the days ticking down until Eraring’s stated closure date of August 2025, Scott knows firsthand the anxiety and uncertainty many power station workers are facing.

“We thought our jobs would last many years into the future, but now we are looking at being on the job market next year,” Scott told a Senate Inquiry on Tuesday. “We are told to retrain, but we don’t know what for.”  

The Albanese Government has put forward the Net Zero Economy Authority Bill to establish a new statutory body dedicated to supporting power station workers affected by looming closures.

If the Bill passes through Parliament, the Authority will be established from July.

Speaking to the Senate Inquiry, General President Tony Maher said the Authority had the important twin goals of supporting displaced workers into new jobs; and co-ordinating investment to drive economic diversification in energy regions.  

“Coal-fired power stations create high-wage jobs and are predominantly located in regions where they are the main employer. 

“We need to act to diversify these economies with new job-intensive industries, so they don’t sink into economic disadvantage.”

The Net Zero Economy Authority will administer workforce plans for power stations facing closure, with the ability to create pooling arrangements with local employers to transfer displaced workers into new jobs. 

The legislation puts obligations on the closing entities to provide certainty and support to employees during the closure process. It also establishes an Energy Industry Worker Redeployment Advisory Group to identify and incentivise appropriate local regional employers to provide opportunities to workers affected by power station closures.

A wide cross-section of witnesses at Tuesday’s Senate Inquiry expressed support for the Authority, noting it was a new approach to economic restructuring to ensure workers and regional communities don’t pay the price for Australia’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – a target supported by the Government and Opposition.

Scott King urged MPs to pass the Bill, saying it gave him hope for a high-employment future for the Hunter region.

“We can’t rely on grapes and café lattes to support us,” he told Senators.

Back to News