With Ford factory doors closing in Victoria last Friday, cleantech jobs in Geelong got a boost today with the Andrews government backing electric vehicle manufacturing alongside its ambitious Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio announced $500,000 in funding for SEA Automotive to set up a factory in Geelong to install and retrofit trucks with modular electric engines.
It is expected 80 highly skilled automotive workers will be employed over the next four years in Geelong as part of the company’s longer term strategy to manufacture commercial electric vehicles.
Yes 2 Renewables CleanTech Jobs Coordinator Pat Simons said the announcement shows how renewable energy and cleantech manufacturing can form part of transition plans for workers and communities.
“Thousands of jobs will be created as communities, business and government get ready to smash the ambitous Victorian Renewable Energy Target of 40% by 2025, creating new opportunities for communities and workers facing industry closures.”
“Growing renewable energy means new opportunities for workers in cleantech manufacturing as well as building wind and solar farms,” says Pat Simons.
— Pat Simons (@prrsimons) October 11, 2016
D’Ambrosio said the funding is part of the Andrews government’s plan to “rebuild much needed confidence in the renewable energy industry while providing jobs for automotive assembly workers” and will help establish Victoria as an “electric vehicle powerhouse”.
Local MP Christine Couzens said “This is an extremely important announcement for the Geelong community and we welcome these new jobs.”
The announcement comes shortly after Ford closed doors at its Geelong engine and stamping plant last Friday and shows how renewables and cleantech manufacturing can form part of transition plans.
Meanwhile in the Latrobe Valley, community group Voices of the Valley are calling for a just transition plan to assist community and workers, with the highly polluting Hazelwood coal fired power station likely to close next year.
This is a critical time for state and federal leaders to work with the community to create a transition plan for the region. Renewable energy, storage and manufacturing can form part of a broader mosaic of economic opportunities in the Latrobe Valley.
The jobs and investment created by renewables are a key part of economic transition, and can be supported by all parties.
It’s time to return to bipartisan support for renewable energy policy in Victoria. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy can show leadership and match community sentiment by supporting the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets.