A south-west manufacturer is calling for the federal government to guarantee Australian-made materials will be included in a new wind farm near Port Fairy.
The federal government says it is committed to fostering an environment where Australian businesses can compete, but also supports an open market economy.
Portland-based engineering company Keppel Prince has made a bid to manufacture 52 towers for the Ryan Corner wind farm, due for construction this year north-west of Port Fairy.
But Keppel Prince executive director Steve Garner said he understood the company's bid was more expensive than overseas businesses had quoted.
"We are probably 20-to-30 per cent more expensive than Europe and Asia. But at the end of the day it only costs the project about two per cent, because the towers are only one small component," Mr Garner said.
The federal government-owned Snowy Hydro has bought 70 per cent of the power from Ryan Corner, giving developer Global Power Generation the confidence to build it.
Mr Garner said given government money was already guaranteeing the wind farm's viability, the project should include a requirement to use Australian manufacturers.
"The federal government needs to do something to step in and make sure that they mandate local content," he said.
"If the government is serious about creating manufacturing in Australia, here is an exact opportunity to put their money where their mouth is."
Federal Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the Morrison government supported an open market economy "as the best way to generate investment and employment".
"We are committed to fostering an environment where Australian businesses have an opportunity to compete for work on major Australian public and private projects," Mr Tehan said.
"The Morrison Government is working to ensure Australian industry, manufacturers and businesses can grow and thrive.
"This is why the government is focused on getting electricity prices down and ensuring the lights stay on."
Keppel Prince missed out on a bid it made for a Mara Wara wind farm, in north-west Victoria, last year.
"We missed out to overseas," Mr Garner said. "We were devastated."
He said there was about 150 staff in a section of the business responsible for wind farm towers, but the business did not have any current contracts. He said the Ryan Corner contract could create work "until the end of the year".
"We are carrying our workforce at this point in time in anticipation of other projects," Mr Garner said.
In the meantime, the business is in discussions about opportunities for a planned wind farm at Woolsthorpe.
The Victorian government is planning for renewable energy to be among the drivers of an economic recovery from coronavirus and opened a second Victorian Renewable Energy Target auction last year.
Mr Garner said the company was awaiting the results of the auction to potentially secure contracts with successful projects.
He said it was also trying to secure manufacturing jobs connected with Melbourne's infrastructure projects. "We have our fingers crossed," Mr Garner said. "We are doing as much as we possibly can."
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