Unions representing Port Kembla workers want an “Australian jobs guarantee” when it comes to the gas terminal planned for the suburb.
On Monday Australian Industrial Energy CEO James Baulderstone announced the consortium wanted to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at Port Kembla.
The project could cost as much as $300 million to construct and is expected to create 150 jobs in the construction phase and 50-60 permanent roles once the terminal is operating.
Mick Cross from the Port Kembla Port Unions committee said they wanted to see those jobs go to local workers.
“The construction phase will undoubtedly boost the local economy in the short term but unions want to ensure there are long term jobs for the region in shipping and surface transport as well as plant operations,” Mr Cross said.
He also expressed concern that it appeared the bulk of the LNG would be sourced internationally and then shipped to Australia.
Mr Baulderstone said they would be looking locally to fill jobs.
“AIE is committed to prioritising employing as many Australians as possible for our project,” Mr Baulderstone said.
“The terminal’s operation will require some highly specialised technical roles and there will be exciting opportunities for Port Kembla locals to be trained by our Japanese partners LNG specialists to take on these roles in the future.”
Mr Baulderstone said sourcing LNG from wherever in the world it was cheapest would benefit more jobs than those who may have been employed through locally-sourced gas.
“The greatest threat to approximately 15,000 jobs within the Illawarra region is the lack of available and affordable gas supplies,” Mr Baulderstone said.
“Understandably those workers are more concerned with accessing affordable energy rather than where and how it is obtained.”
Mr Baulderstone said AIE’s focus was “on delivering the best possible price for our Australian industrial customers”.