Workers from Victorian wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) are gathered outside GrainCorp in Portland harbour to protest the arrival of imported wind towers that have already cost 40 workers their jobs and have left another 100 workers facing uncertainty.
The workers plan to block the towers leaving the port. The towers are scheduled to head to Ryan Corner wind farm where they will power the Morrison Government’s Snowy Hydro 2.0 scheme. The Morrison Government has persistently failed to agree to local content to save the jobs of these local workers, the AMWU say.
The government signed a deal with Danish company Vestas to acquire power for Snowy Hydro 2.0 but failed to include local content requirements in its contracts. A failure to add local content requirements to the contract with the Danish company to build Ryan Corner wind farm in Victoria has a major impact on the lives and livelihoods of the local community of Portland.
Up to 20 Imported wind towers at Stockyard Hill - which were signed off on by the government - have been found to be cracked, unsafe and should be recalled, AMWU say.
Last year, the AMWU took workers from Keppel Prince to Canberra to fight for their jobs and to demand local steel and local manufacturing jobs were prioritised.
Quotes attributable to Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) National Secretary Steve Murphy
“We’re tired of Morrison and his politicians sending our work offshore to the cheapest bidder. We can make wind towers here, on time, on budget and of better quality.
“Local Member of Parliament Dan Tehan knew about this and refused to lift a finger – the imported towers his government signed off on last year have been found with multiple cracks and have had to be recalled.
“This government has stopped listening to the regional workers who make this country thrive – we need to change the government.
“These Keppel Prince workers are doing the jobs that we want and need to have in regional Australia. These skilled manufacturing workers are creating a greener future for Australia, but the government has ignored them and now they’re forced to protest the arrival of these imported wind towers into Portland.
“In Canberra, we called on the Morrison Government - who owns Snowy 2.0 - to turn this around immediately, but they’ve failed.
“Without proper government support, growth industries like the renewable energy manufacturing industry in Australia are at risk. If this industry fails it will take hundreds of high-skill, high-wage jobs in regional Australia with it.”