A new focus on the energy industry could provide job opportunities in Queensland across a number of different professions.
Last week, the state government unveiled plans to drive investment in biofuels. A Deloitte Access Economics study compiled in conjunction with the Queensland University of Technology predicted bio-refining could generate 6,640 jobs and contribute $1.8 billion to state coffers over the next 20 years.
Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said an ethanol mandate would boost the biofuels industry and provide significant growth for local industries, specifically agricultural businesses.
“We want Queensland’s primary producers and industry to be part of the sustainable energy solution,” he explained. “I have been across the state hearing the views of grain growers in the Darling Downs and sugar cane farmers in Queensland’s far north.”
Ethanol can be used as a carbon-neutral fuel, providing an environmentally friendly alternative for drivers. Increased demand for biofuels could see opportunities in agriculture rise, including apprenticeships and traineeships.
“It is important that local industries capture the market share to ensure that any ethanol sold in Queensland comes from Queensland,” Mr Bailey added.
The state government held a forum on its plans for an ethanol mandate in Brisbane on June 25. According to the energy minister, it’s vital for industry groups and the general public to learn more about the benefits of sustainable options.
More energy jobs in Queensland
Following the biofuels announcement, the Palaszczuk government announced another energy project that is set to provide new jobs in the state.
A $14 million Powerlink project involving the construction of high voltage transmission lines throughout the North West Surat Basin is expected to increase local demand for traditional trades.
Mr Bailey, who was in Toowoomba on Friday (June 26), said building contractors have been asked to prioritise Queensland suppliers and staff wherever possible. This includes plumbers and electricians, as well as heavy machinery hire, food and accommodation, and transport providers.
Maranoa Regional Council Mayor Robert Loughnan said Powerlink was setting a good example by focusing on local skills and encouraging its contractors to do the same.
“There are other companies out there that need to realise there’s a lot of talent in regional communities and make an effort to find it,” he commented.
Powerlink is developing approximately 200 kilometres of electrical transmission line, as well as seven substations. The project aims to facilitate the state’s burgeoning gas export industry.
By Leanne Macnamara, Public Affairs Coordinator