Warrnambool and the south-west have “exciting” times ahead with demand for labour and accommodation expected to boom with the start of construction next year on three large regional wind farms, Bruce Anson says.
The Regional Development Australia (RDA) Barwon South-West chair and Warrnambool City Council chief executive said the three wind farms to start next year at Mortlake South, Dundonnell and Berrybank would bring more than $1 billion of investment to the region.
Mr Anson said the projects would present challenges in meeting the demand for skilled labour and accommodation that the region previously experienced during the construction of the Macarthur wind farm and the Port Campbell gas plants.
Many of the workers on the new wind farms were likely to get accommodation in Warrnambool, Mr Anson said.
“It will be a really good time for the city,” he said.
Mr Anson said RDA and the council were working to ease the regional shortage of skilled labour through such measures as applying to get the south-west covered by a Designated Migration Area Agreement (DAMA).
A DAMA would make it easier for employers to bring workers from overseas and elsewhere in Australia to the region, offering the prospect of permanent Australian residency to those who worked in the south-west for a required period of time.
The Dundonnell wind farm is expected to employ 200 staff during its construction and 10 full-time staff during its 25-year life.
Tilt Renewables, which this month announced it would begin construction next year on the 80-turbine farm, said the multiplier effect from its $560 million investment would sustain about 1595 jobs a year during the project’s two-year construction.
Tilt said local service providers likely to do work on the wind farm included domestic scale electricians, transport operators, machine operators, general labourers, quarries and concrete businesses.
The developer of the $525 million Berrybank wind farm, Global Power Generation (Union Fenosa Wind Australia), expects to next year start building the first of 38 turbines it will erect in Corangamite shire as part of the 79-turbine farm. GPG will build another 41 turbines in the adjacent Golden Plains Shire as part of the project.
GPG said the farm would create 150 jobs during construction and 14 full-time ones.
The developer of the Mortlake South wind farm, Acciona, said its 35-turbine farm would create between 80-100 jobs, 5-10 full-time jobs and a diversified income for the host landholders.