Lasting and lucrative jobs for NSW residents will be on the agenda of a group of energy sector representatives brought together by the state government.
The Renewable Energy Sector Board, announced on Tuesday, will feature a dozen members led by two co-chairs.
“We have bought all the key players to the table to make sure we don’t miss any opportunities to support local jobs and industry as we modernise the state’s energy infrastructure over the coming decades,” NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean said in a statement.
Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Daniel Walton and Public Interest Advocacy Centre executive Craig Memery will chair the board together.
“Our government spends huge amount of taxpayer dollars on a variety of projects, but far too often local manufacturing has been overlooked and hasn’t enjoyed the benefits of those initiatives,” Mr Walton said.
“One thing the pandemic has taught us is Australians want more opportunities and more things made here.”
The board members will include top executives from unions, clean energy groups, and big energy consumers such as manufacturing companies, among others.
They include representatives from the Clean Energy council, TransGrid, the Australian Steel Institute, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, and BlueScope Steel Australia.
Other board members include representatives from the Varley Group, the Energy Corporation of NSW, and Energy Consumers Australia.
Asked what the greatest challenge for the board will be, Mr Walton said: “I would say one of the difficulties is getting all of the levers of government working together in the right direction; to make sure that when we’re going into major infrastructure projects the benefits are provided to all NSW residents throughout it.
“Getting all areas of government working together, and the committee singing from the same song sheet, will be a great challenge but will provide great benefits if done right.”
Mr Walton said there would be a focus on creating jobs for the committee, which will meet at least twice a year and is expected to produce its first report to Mr Kean by the end of next month.
“I know workers want certainty, they want to make sure they have good paying jobs now and into the future, and the businesses they work for want to make sure they have reliable and affordable energy,” Mr Walton said.
“Those two issues are very big drivers which will be the focus of a lot of members of the committee. And there are huge opportunities available to us if done right.”