Coal power workers call for urgent transition support

Published: 22 Feb 2023

Victorian Power Workers

Seventy workers from coal fired power stations and domestic thermal coal mines are meeting in Sydney this Thursday and Friday to discuss impacts of the energy transition on workers and urge the Federal Government to provide urgent co-ordinated support. 

Mining and Energy Union General President Tony Maher addressed the meeting this morning, saying the Labor Government should urgently establish a federal Energy Transition Authority. 

“Given the speed at which coal fire power stations are now accelerating toward closure the Federal Government has to establish an Energy Transition Authority this year or it will probably be too late. 

“If Australia doesn't get an Energy Transition Authority established in time it would be a moral failure, because it's wrong to expect blue collar workers to bear the brunt of the nation's climate change action when the costs could easily be shared.”

Read the full speech

Peter Compton, an operator at Mount Piper Power Station near Lithgow, said workers had a front seat view of the immense changes facing the industry, but their interests were not being taken into account in government planning. 

“Coal-fired power station closures are going to have an enormous impact on the grid and need to be planned for. Closures are also going to have an enormous impact on our lives and communities and these outcomes need to planned for too,” he said. 

“I support the call for a federal Energy Transition Authority; and I’m looking forward to talking with other energy workers from around Australia about how we navigate all the changes ahead.” 

The two-day meeting brings together delegates from 25 facilities from Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.