NSW Labor amendments put steel into electricity infrastructure

17 November 2020

NSW Labor has successfully put Australian-made, locally produced Illawarra steel at the heart of the state’s electricity infrastructure investment after intense negotiations with the Government.

More than 650,000 tonnes of steel will be needed to deliver new Renewable Energy Zones across the state, which will also include the Illawarra region.


The NSW Labor amendments to the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill 2020 establishes a NSW Renewable Energy Sector Board, which will include representatives from steel manufacturers and steel fabricators as well as trade union representatives from the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and Electrical Trades Union (ETU).


The primary role of the NSW Renewable Energy Sector Board will be to design the framework for the procurement, manufacture and construction of electricity infrastructure maximising locally produced and supplied goods and services, including steel.


The NSW Renewable Energy Sector Board will be required to provide a report to the Minister for Energy and Environment by 31 March 2021 and a final report by 30 June 2021 and annually thereafter.


The Board’s additional function will be to maximise the employment of qualified local workers, and foster opportunities for apprentices and trainees.


NSW Labor’s amendments also establish an Electricity Infrastructure Jobs Advocate whose primary role will be to work with the Illawarra and Hunter regions, and other parts of New South Wales, to develop strategies and incentives to encourage investment, workplace development, employment, training, education and business development opportunities in these areas.


The Electricity Infrastructure Jobs Advocate will also provide advice on the road, rail and port infrastructure required in the regions to promote opportunities for electricity generation, storage and network technologies.


NSW Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Jobs, Yasmin Catley, said, “NSW Labor has strengthened the Government’s proposed legislation by making sure that the Illawarra and Hunter regions in particular will benefit from the new jobs and business opportunities that come from renewable energy.


“Our amendments make sure that we priorities the use of locally produced goods and services made in the Illawarra and Hunter regions, securing jobs, and creating new jobs and business opportunities, as we invest in renewing electricity infrastructure across the state.”

Member for Wollongong and Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, Paul Scully said, “I am very pleased that after intensive negotiations with the Government, NSW Labor has led the way to make sure it is L-A-W to use locally produced, Australian-made steel in one of the biggest electricity infrastructure investments we have seen.


“I’m enormously proud that the region I represent makes the best steel in the country and I wanted to see it used in every wind and solar farm, pumped-hydro, and hydrogen facilities and pipelines across New South Wales.


“The success of NSW Labor’s amendments show that traditional foundational industries, like the steel and coal industry, and their workforces, can and must work together to build the electricity infrastructure necessary to deliver renewable energy to every business and household in the state.


“The Illawarra region, its steel industry and skilled workforce is more than capable of delivering the steel necessary to build the renewable energy zones in this plan”, he said.