Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by accelerating shift to zero emissions – report

could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by accelerating shift to zero emissions – report

Decarbonising the economy by investing in renewable energy, clean buildings, clean transport and manufacturing could help fight the recession, Guardian, Adam Morton Environment editor @adamlmorton, Mon 29 Jun 2020 Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be created in Australia by hurrying the shift to zero greenhouse gas emissions, a study backed by business and investment leaders has found.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 835,000 jobs have been lost since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown began in March. A report by Beyond Zero Emissions, an energy and climate change thinktank, says practical projects to decarbonise the economy could create 1.78m “job years” over the next five years – on average, 355,000 people in work each year – while modernising Australian industry.

Called the “million jobs plan”, it says further stimulus measures needed to fight the Covid-19 recession are “a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a globally competitive Australian economy fit for 21st century challenges”.

The report focuses on proposals it says are already being planned and could create jobs by accelerating private and public investment in renewable energyclean buildings, clean transport, manufacturing and land use that will happen in the years ahead anyway. Benefits would include improved air quality and new employment in regional areas.

Eytan Lenko, Beyond Zero Emissions’ interim chief executive, said the group had brought together investment, business and industry leaders to scope the best clean solutions that would drive productivity and growth.

“No one thought 2020 would turn out the way it has. We now have a unique opportunity to seize this moment, to retool, reskill, and rebuild our battered economy to set us up for future generations,” he said.

The plan would require hundreds of billions of dollars in investment. It says clean energy investors have indicated their willingness to spend on this scale, pointing to the more than $100bn of existing renewable energy projects proposed but yet to be built.

The report says Australia risks missing out on some of these opportunities, and others in electric transport, zero-carbon manufacturing and green steel, unless governments deliver policy certainty and help create an environment that encourages large clean investment deals. Reserve Bank research found the number of large-scale renewable energy projects reaching commencement fell about 50% last year after a record-setting 2018.

Beyond Zero Emissions says governments also have a role to play in direct investment in, for example, urgent transmission line projects to new renewable energy zones, the construction of energy-efficient social housing, and the introduction and expansion of electric buses and trains……….  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/29/australia-could-create-hundreds-of-thousands-of-jobs-by-accelerating-shift-to-zero-emissions-report

June 29, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

With Liberal Coalition business as usual on energy, thousands of renewable energy jobs will vanish

Up to 11,000 renewable energy jobs at risk if the government ignores calls for new policies, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/up-to-11-000-renewable-energy-jobs-at-risk-if-the-government-ignores-calls-for-new-policies   Renewable energy groups are calling for greater public investment as companies risk losing thousands of jobs if the government ignores calls for a policy refresh. BY OMAR DEHEN, 26 June 20  Up to 11,000 jobs in Australia’s renewable energy sector could be lost over the next two years if no additional policies are introduced by the Morrison government, a new report has found.

Modelling from the University of Technology Sydney looked at several scenarios that predicted a reduction of jobs in the industry.

The modelling also examined scenarios that increased employment and reduced electricity costs across Australia.

According to its worst-case scenario – what would happen if there was no change in government policy – the number of people employed in renewable energy would fall from roughly 26,000 people to 15,000 by 2022.

June 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Up to 40 Energy jobs to be cut from CSIRO

CSIRO to pull plug on energy jobs,   https://www.miragenews.com/csiro-to-pull-plug-on-energy-jobs/    CSIRO management have announced this week that up to 40 jobs will be cut from its energy team, including key scientists, engineers, and researchers.The union representing the public sector including CSIRO workers, the CPSU, are calling on the government to halt cuts to the CSIRO.

These are the latest in a series of staff cuts to hit the CSIRO, bringing the total number of job losses to 619 this financial year alone, due to the impact of the governments’ Average Staffing Level Cap and continued budget cuts.

Projects that could affected as a result of these Energy job cuts are upstream oil and gas, the Low Emissions Technologies program, and post combustion CO2 capture research.

Four energy sites will be affected including Kensington (Western Australia), Clayton (Victoria), Newcastle and North Ryde (New South Wales).

Quotes Attributable to CPSU National Secretary Melissa Donnelly:

“There is no doubt that these cuts will have an enduring impact on the national capability to develop and implement energy and climate policy. At a time when the government should be focussed on the future of our energy needs, they are more concerned with cutting jobs.”

The CSIRO is on track to lose more than 500 jobs by 1 July and that does not include these latest cuts in Energy. We need to be investing in the CSIRO not cutting hundreds upon hundreds of jobs.”

“It’s time for the government to scrap the ASL Cap and invest in Australia’s scientific resources. If the past 6 months have shown us anything, its that the CSIRO is more important than ever.”

Quotes Attributable to CPSU CSIRO Section Secretary Sam Popovski:

“Job losses of any sort in CSIRO are bad news. CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall needs to do a lot more to protect CSIRO jobs and start to make a case for increased public funding.”

“The recent King Review indicates that Australia’s energy policy remains far from settled and diminishing CSIRO’s specialist capabilities in this area harms government decision-making and future innovation.”

“There are growing concerns that the October federal budget may feature spending cuts and Dr Marshall and the Board must ensure that the case for CSIRO public funding is heard loud and clear over coming months,” Mr Popovski said.

June 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy, politics | Leave a comment

The dangers of so called intermediate level nuclear waste, include the devaluation of the region’s agriculture

Bev Spriggs Fight To Stop A Nuclear Waste Dump In South Australia, 10 Mar 20,  The dangers of so called intermediate level nuke waste,  – it is considered high level waste in the countries that want us to take it. Mr Baldock will be astonished to learn of the devaluation of his crops and the rest of his land and that of his neighbours once that poison comes to town. As for the 45 job creations….that may happen during construction, then they will disappear and there will only be 8 to 10 jobs to caretake the facility. The 31 mill promised for the community will happen once only, when it is gone there will be no more. https://www.facebook.com/groups/941313402573199/

March 10, 2020 Posted by | business, employment, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

It is a big MISTAKE to equate COAL MINING with jobs

Marie Paech- 13 Jan 2020

It is a big MISTAKE to equate COAL MINING with jobs
1. Australian Tourism employs 10 times more Australians than does mining
2. There are job vacancies in the setting up and maintaining renewables
3. Australia has an opportunity to Lead the World manufacturing and building the equipment and technological infrastructures and components required to set up renewable and sustainable community and economy e.g.. Let’s build Australian Made solar panels instead of importing them
4. Build our own iron ore processing plants run by green hydrogen/hydro/wind/solar/ To make aluminium Keeping profits and jobs in Australia
5. Build sustainable industry, farming, tourism, land management, water management and houses, towns and cities, Leed the world in recycling and green energy transport solutions Manufacture electric cars, buses, commercial vehicles There are so many jobs to be had and created in zero emissions
The world would flock here and pay us to advise and share our sustainable progressive technology and solutions
6. Eco tourism would not only create even more jobs for Austalians boosting the industries that benefit ie. restaurants, bakeries, farmers etc The tourism industry would bring even more billions of $$$$ into Australia

January 14, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Union opposes nuclear power because it is uneconomic and dangerous

Wake up and smell the radiation. Nuclear is not the answer  https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/wake-up-and-smell-the-radiation-nuclear-is-not-the-answer/news-story/dc3ea481d9d6083a9c6b391268f6d078m Allen Hicks, 24 July 19

July 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, employment, safety | Leave a comment

Union push to union trustees to formally exclude nuclear energy from industry super investments

ETU pushes union trustees to block nuclear AFR, 10 July 19 The Electrical Trades Union is leading a push for union trustees to formally commit to excluding nuclear energy from industry super investments in favour of bolstering renewables.  ETU national secretary Allen Hicks will propose an anti-nuclear investment motion at the Australian Council of Trade Union’s national executive later this year and use the ACTU’s Super Trustees Forum to “build and leverage support among my union director colleagues on this”.

“I want to pass a motion committing union directors in the industry super sector to focus on backing investment in renewable tech,” he will tell the union’s national conference on Wednesday afternoon.

“To focus on backing that investment instead of propping up the misguided imaginings of those who long for an Australian nuclear sector.”

The motion follows the ETU’s attack last week on an energy paper released by industry fund peak body Industry Super Australia (ISA), chaired by former ACTU secretary Greg Combet…….

Mr Hicks will attack the paper as a “disgrace” in his speech and question industry funds diverting money to ISA to produce it.

“It’s a disgrace that this body – this body that unions created – could be used as part of a push to expose workers and their communities to the catastrophic dangers that nuclear power plants present,” the speech says.

He will advocate industry super funds commit to a “war-like mobilisation” to battle climate change and “become the ultimate weapon in Australia’s fight for a clean, renewable energy sector”.

“The retirement savings of Australian workers could be deployed to invest in smart, new, renewable technology – including battery tech – that could set us on the path to zero carbon emissions.”

The ETU’s anti-nuclear position is supported by the $50 billion building industry super fund Cbus, which includes the CFMEU on its board of trustees………

Mr Hicks will argue the economics around nuclear power don’t stack up due to the costs and time taken for construction.

“But even if they did, our union would oppose it,” he will say, arguing nuclear puts workers in unsafe conditions.

“No responsible Australian trade union … no organisation that claims to represent the interests of Australian workers … could possibly endorse putting Australians into that line of potential fire.”…..

Energy Super, whose board includes ETU representatives, stressed it was “focused on maximising members’ hard-earned retirement savings”.

“We have a transparent investment process which considers many factors including environmental, social and governance criteria to ensure the sustainability of the fund over the longer term,” chief executive Robyn Petrou said.

“We are increasing our investments in renewables, such as wind farms and solar  energy.” https://www.afr.com/leadership/workplace/etu-pushes-union-trustees-to-block-nuclear-20190710-p525sj

July 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Australian unions reject Industry Super’s backing of the nuclear industry

Unions revolt over Industry Super’s nuclear backing, Financial Review, David Marin-Guzman 3 July 19  The Electrical Trades Union has condemned a report from Industry Super Australia that backed nuclear energy as an option to confront the energy crisis, sparking a split between unions and industry funds’ own peak body.

ETU national secretary Allen Hicks said industry fund participants were not consulted on the ISA energy paper released last week and called on unions to condemn the paper’s recommendations, which he said promoted a “highly risky investment with deadly consequences”.

While the paper titled Modernising Electricty Sectors stressed it was not “pro nuclear” it said nuclear must be considered as part of the energy investment mix and questioned the capabilities of battery and renewable options.

“The ETU has very strong concerns about this ISA report that broadly spruiks nuclear power while using flawed assumptions and poor modelling to write down the capacity of renewables and battery technology,” Mr Hicks said.

This report has been developed without consulting key industry stakeholders or actual members of ISA that we have been in contact with.”

The comments mark a significant push-back against the industry fund peak body, which is chaired by former Australian Council of Trade Unions chief Greg Combet.

The ETU has representatives on industry funds Cbus and Energy Super and its anti-nuclear position is shared by the maritime union, which opposes shipping nuclear material into ports.

Cbus, whose board members include building unions such as the CFMEU, joined the ETU in disagreeing with the ISA paper’s position.

“The ISA paper raises a number of interesting points for discussion. However, from an investment perspective Cbus doesn’t see nuclear as a part of Australia’s energy mix and we are actively pursuing other energy opportunities,” a spokesman for the fund said.

Mr Hicks said he supported ISA taking the lead on energy investment due to government inaction. But he argued it should focus on maximising returns, not promoting an industry that “would put at risk the very people who industry super represents – union members”.

The ETU has opposed nuclear power and uranium mining since the Second World War due to perceived risks to workers and the public.

Mr Hicks said members had “witnessed first-hand the death and destruction that comes with this form of power” and “more recent disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl only reinforce this view”.

That’s why it’s so vexing that industry funds our members pay their retirement savings into would offer any support to a report giving the nod to nuclear.”

…….  ETU national industry co-ordinator Matthew Murphy claimed the ISA report “fluffed up” the benefits of nuclear power while including flawed assumptions on renewables “that had no basis in reality”.

This report is biased toward nuclear power and against renewables and that clearly bears out in shoddy maths and assumptions like ‘a battery will only run for one hour’ or that the island nation of Australia is not suitable for offshore wind and tidal power,” he said.

Mr Murphy said the “most glaring” statement in the paper was that 100 to 150 nuclear power plants was enough to power half the country.

Unlike the numbers in the report, we can’t pluck nuclear reactors out of thin air. And there is likely to be huge public opposition from the 150 towns where these deadly power plants would be built.” https://www.afr.com/leadership/workplace/unions-revolt-over-industry-super-s-nuclear-backing-20190702-p5239a

July 4, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment | Leave a comment

Ditch the jobs v environment slogan and get on with doing both

 Brisbane Times, By Jeff Angel, June 11, 2019 — ……… In a little publicised study released this year, the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council assessed the environmental goods and services sector. The activities involved include delivering waste, water and energy management; and biodiversity, landscape and climate services. It found the number of jobs generated as 152,000 larger than the total number of jobs in agriculture and mining combined. Importantly a significant number were in regional areas and the vast majority of businesses, small to medium size. With a 6 per cent growth rate, the environmental goods and services sector was already contributing $43.9 billion a year across the economy.

Notably the study did not include tourism jobs, many of which are based on our magnificent natural assets found in national parks. There are more than 50 million visits a year, with Destination NSW finding more than $20 billion is spent on nature based tourism generating tens of thousands of jobs.
So, protecting the environment is not a job destroyer. It’s the opposite. But what has caused this positive situation?
To the chagrin of some on the “let the market run free” side of the political debate – a major influence has been government regulation stimulating investment and innovation. Mandatory renewable energy targets are one example.

Another is the NSW Energy Savings Scheme, where electricity retailers are required to meet escalating targets helping business, industry and households save energy (and have lower bills). The Council notes the government law created a competitive market to deliver energy savings at least cost, resulting in NSW now leading the world in the wide-scale adoption of efficient lighting.

A more recent development has been “return and earn” providing refunds on drink bottles and cans. Originally decried by major beverage companies as a tax on consumers that would cost jobs – the evidence is that more than 500 new jobs have been created. None have been reported lost. The state’s Pricing Regulator has also found minimal cost impact; and when you return your drink container for the 10 cent refund, you are saving on the purchase price.

This does not mean that these jobs are replacing employment in the extractive industries, but rather at a macro level there is a social and economic benefit. The issue confronting policy makers is transition as one industry declines and another grows. Some skills are transferable but more deliberate assistance programs are needed. …..

It’s not a choice between jobs and the environment, but how to transition in a way that manages inevitable dislocation and also prevents ongoing, damaging and serious environmental impacts on present and future generations. This is the challenge for the new federal and NSW ministers for the environment and industry.

We know there are many jobs in the green economy – NSW has shown this. Income and job creating services that protect the climate will grow if government allows it. Establishing a local reprocessing industry for our recycling is also essential. Asia has rejected our kerbside recyclate and we can’t just dump or incinerate it here. On the optimistic side, we have a new federal Minister for Waste Reduction in the environment portfolio, the first in Australia’s history; and state ministers are grappling with how to embrace the circular economy where resources are not wasted.  Let’s dispense with the slogan of jobs v the environment and get on with doing both.

Jeff Angel is the director of the Total Environment Centre.  https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/ditch-the-jobs-v-environment-slogan-and-get-on-with-doing-both-20190610-p51w8n.html

June 11, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, employment | Leave a comment

Striking school students are more likely to have successful careers

School strikers are going places but the dole queue isn’t one of them, https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/school-strikers-are-going-places-but-the-dole-queue-isn-t-one-of-them-20181202-p50jog.html, By Clive Hamilton 2 December 2018 The resources minister, Matt Canavan, last week told students that the only thing they’d learn by skipping school to protest over inaction on climate change would be how to join the dole queue.

The history of protest in Australia shows the opposite. The protest leaders of the 1960s and 1970s, including many high school students, were denounced by conservatives as long-haired layabouts who would never amount to anything. In fact, they became the next generation of leaders in politics, universities, media, the public service, NGOs and even business.

Take the 1965 Freedom Ride, for instance. “Look at em,” said one RSL stalwart when students turned up to protest against the ban on black diggers. “The brains of Australia! God help you if you ever end up under em.” That’s exactly what happened. The Freedom Ride’s leaders included Jim Spigelman, who would go on to become Chief Justice of NSW and chair of the ABC, Ann Curthoys, later an eminent professor, and Charles Perkins, who became an Aboriginal leader, leading public servant and one of Australia’s Living National Treasures.

Student protesters have become newspaper editors, cabinet ministers, prize-winning poets, much-loved cartoonists, publishers, world-famous authors and Supreme Court judges.

There’s a reason they develop into leaders. It’s those young people who throw themselves into civic engagement who become the best citizens and most productive members of our society. They are the passionate ones willing to stand up. They are not content to “work, consume, die” but commit themselves to making a better Australia.

When we hear Canavan tell 2GB the protesters are “not actually taking charge of their lives” and they should get a real job, he’s telling them they should not be active, motivated citizens but docile consumers who leave politics to the politicians.

The protesting school kids, tired of watching the sacrifice of their future by a government dominated by climate science deniers, had some sharp answers to that, waving placards reading “Why should we go to school if you won’t listen to the educated?” and “I’ve seen smarter cabinets in Ikea”.

The students are carrying on a noble tradition. The great social movements that defined modern Australia—the movements for women’s liberation, gay rights, Indigenous rights, and environmental protection—all inspired school students to get out on the streets, wave banners and chant slogans.

Without those courageous youths, Australia would be a backward place. You would think that political leaders would welcome young people becoming engaged in the civic life of the nation. Instead, they were denounced in Parliament in an angry tirade from the Prime Minister. Nothing could be more damaging to the future of our democracy than for budding citizens to be told by the powerful to get back into their boxes and shut up. Thank God the kids have decided they won’t be bullied. More power to them.

Clive Hamilton is the author of What Do We Want? The Story of Protest in Australia and professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | art and culture, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, politics | Leave a comment

Australian government’s absurdly inflated claim of 45 jobs for proposed nuclear waste dump

Jobs not sustainable  JIM GREEN Friends of the Earth Australia, Eyre Peninsula Tribune, 10 Oct 18 
The federal government claims that 45 jobs will be created at its proposed national radioactive waste facility in Kimba or the Flinders Ranges.

The government further claims that its jobs estimate has been “tested” against comparable overseas facilities.
But such comparisons prove that the government’s jobs estimate is grossly inflated. The CSA radioactive waste facility in France processes 73 cubic metres (m3) per employee per year. The El Cabril radioactive waste facility in Spain processes 10 cubic metres (m3) per employee per year.


Yet the Australian government estimates productivity of just 1 m3 per employee per year. The government evidently has a dim view of the productivity of Australian workers, or, more likely, its jobs estimate is grossly inflated.
If we assume that Australia matched the lowest of the figures given above ‒ 10 m3 per employee per year at El Cabril in Spain ‒ then the staff at an Australian facility would be processing waste for just one month each year.
The government might be willing to pay 45 staff to do nothing for 11 months each year, but it’s not a sustainable situation. The Department of Finance wouldn’t tolerate it. Staffing would be dramatically culled.
Almost certainly, a future government would revert to the plan pursued by previous governments: keeping the waste facility closed most of the time, and opening it occasionally for waste disposal and storage.  https://www.eyretribune.com.au/story/5693747/letters-to-the-editor/

October 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Victoria’s renewable energy boom set to create thousands of jobs

Green Energy Markets predicts more than 6,000 annual jobs will be created but urges federal policy intervention, Guardian, Calla Wahlquist @callapilla 2 Oct 2018 The renewable energy construction boom in Victoria is on track to create more than 6,000 annual jobs, according to a new analysis.

As of August 2018, large-scale wind and solar projects under construction in Victoria had created 5,169 job years of employment – meaning one person working full time for one year – overtaking Queensland with 5,156, according to an analysis by Green Energy Markets released by GetUp on Tuesday.

When the remainder of the projects greenlit under Victoria’s renewable energy auction come online, job years of employment will increase to 6,072.

Victoria has 26 operational large-scale wind and solar projects, 12 under construction and 28 with planning approval.

But the Green Energy Markets director of analysis, Tristan Edis, said that without federal policy intervention the construction boom would being tapering off in 2020, because the large-scale generation certificates scheme would be over-supplied.

Renewable energy made up 25.5% of the electricity fed into the major east and west coast power grids in August, enough to power 12.1m homes, the report said.

As of August there were another 6,184MW of new large-scale renewable energy projects under construction, creating 15,511 jobs, the bulk of which were in Queensland and Victoria. Wind generation accounted for 54% of the new projects and the remainder were large-scale solar……..

Victoria and Queensland also on track to meet their state-based renewable energy generations targets of 40% and 50% respectively by 2030.

Victorian environment minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the construction jobs were the product of a record investment in renewable energy and that investment would be under threat if the Coalition won the state election next month.

NSW currently leads the number of jobs in the rooftop solar installation industry, followed by Queensland, Victoria and WA, although jobs in rooftop solar in Victoria are forecast to increase due to its $2250 solar panel rebate.https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/01/victorias-renewable-energy-boom-set-to-create-thousands-of-jobs

October 3, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Jobs for South Australians at nuclear morgue? That is a shaky promise.

A nuclear waste jobs bonanza for regional South Australia? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19959, Jim Green, 27 Sept 19

The federal government is trying to persuade regional communities in South Australia to host a national radioactive waste facility – an underground burial repository for lower-level radioactive wastes and an above-ground ‘interim’ store for long-lived intermediate-level waste. One site under consideration is near Hawker in the Flinders Ranges, and two other sites under consideration are on farming land near Kimba at the top of the Eyre Peninsula.

The government is promising 45 jobs, three times its earlier claim that there would be 15 jobs at the proposed facility. The compensation package on offer has also tripled and now stands at $31 million.

Forty-five jobs would be welcome in small regional communities. But is it plausible that 45 jobs would be created? When the Howard government was attempting to establish a radioactive waste repository in SA from 1998 – 2004, the government said there would be zero jobs – not even any security guards. The government-commissioned PR company Michels Warren said: “The National Repository could never be sold as “good news” to South Australians. There are few, if any, tangible benefits such as jobs, investment or improved infrastructure.”

From 2005 to 2014, Coalition and Labor governments targeted sites in the Northern Territory for a radioactive waste repository and said there would be just six jobs, all of them security guards.

Last year, with SA once again in the firing line, the government said: “At least 15 full-time equivalent jobs will be needed to operate the facility. These will be in site management, administration, security, environmental monitoring, site and building maintenance as well as receiving and packaging waste materials.”

Recently, the jobs estimate was upped to 45, with the government saying: “In addition to the 15 operational jobs already confirmed, the structure now includes roles for community liaison, management, tourism, environmental monitoring, security, health and safety: a total of 45 staff.”

This is the breakdownof the 45 jobs:

14 – security and safeguards

13 – waste operations and technicians

8 – site management and community outreach

5 – environmental protection and quality control

5 – safety and radiation protection

That estimate comes with caveats: “the final workforce design and structure will be based on a number of factors including advice from security agencies, the views of the independent regulator and the details of the final business case, with inputs from across government.”

Overseas comparisons    

The Centre de Stockage de l’Aube (CSA) radioactive waste facility in France handles over 200 times more waste per yearcompared to the proposed facility in SA yet it employs only four times as many staff as the proposed facility in SA. CSA processes 73 cubic metres (m3) per employee per year (13,164 m3 / 180 staff).  

Is the estimate of 45 jobs credible? Not if overseas radioactive waste facilities are any guide.

The El Cabril radioactive waste facility in Spain has a staff of 137 people and processed an average of 1,395 m3 per year from 1993 to 2016. That equates to 10.2 m3 per employee per year. 

Yet the Australian government estimates a workforce of 45 people to process 45 m3 per year: 1 m3 per employee per year compared to 10.2 in Spain and 73 in France. The government evidently has a dim view of the productivity of Australian workers, or, more likely, its jobs estimate is grossly inflated.

Will the government pay staff to do nothing?

Measuring jobs-per-employee doesn’t account for some jobs required whether a facility processes 1 m3 or 1 million m3 per year: administration, security and so on. As a government official stated: “There are a base number of jobs related to the management of the waste which are not linear with volume and a number of jobs that would scale with larger volumes.”

Nevertheless, productivity at the proposed Australian facility would be dramatically lower than comparable facilities overseas. 

If we assume that Australia matched the lowest of the figures given above – 10.2 m3 per employee per year at El Cabril in Spain – then the staff at an Australian facility  would be processing waste for just one month each year and they’d have 11 months to play ping-pong.

The current government might be willing to pay 45 staff to play ping-pong for 11 months each year, but it’s not a sustainable situation. The Department of Finance wouldn’t tolerate it. If staff at the waste facility are paid by the federal government to do nothing for most of the time, what sort of a precedent does that set, and why shouldn’t the rest of us be paid to do nothing for 11 months out of 12 at a cost to taxpayers of several million dollars each year?

Almost certainly, staffing would be dramatically culled. Almost certainly, a future government would revert to the plan pursued by previous governments: keeping the waste facility closed most of the time, and opening it occasionally for waste disposal and storage. In the jargon, this is called a campaign-based approach with occasional waste disposal ‘campaigns’.

Previous governments said that waste would be sent to the facility just once every 3 – 5 years. For example, the government said in 2003 that waste would be transferred to the facility just once every five years: “It is considered for planning purposes that an average period of 5 years between campaigns will be appropriate” (Volume III of DEST application to ARPANSA, Ch.9, ‘Waste – Transfer and Documentation’, p.5).

In a recent attack on me for questioning its estimate of 45 jobs, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said it was unable to locate any previous government documents regarding periodic, campaign-based plans. The federal government can’t find federal government documents? Seriously?

The government says that it wants continuous operation of the repository (for reasons unexplained) rather than a periodic, campaign-based approach. But even so, the government only plans to shift waste to the facility once or twice each yearaccording to a 2016 document. A July 2018 government document states: “This facility will be an operational facility and not as some have suggested, a minimally crewed warehouse to be opened once or twice a year.” But it is the government itself which says that waste will only be transported to the facility once or twice each year!

Broader economic impacts Continue reading

September 28, 2018 Posted by | employment, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | 1 Comment

Renewable energy jobs up by a third – Australian Bureau of Statistics

27 Apr 18, The number of jobs in Australia related to renewable energy production grew by one-third in 2016-17 to 14,820 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

ABS Director of Environment and Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns, said the 33 per cent increase on the previous year was mainly due to a number of major wind and solar energy projects starting their construction phase.

“The increase in employment in 2016-17 was driven primarily by three states, Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia ” said Ms Binns.

Queensland had the largest increase in renewable energy employment, gaining an extra 1,220 FTE jobs, as a result of construction of large scale solar farms.

New South Wales and South Australia, on the other hand, realised most of their increases from new wind farm construction.

“In recent years, Australia has experienced growth in the amount of energy derived from renewable sources. While the proportion of energy from renewable sources remains relatively small there is considerable interest in renewable energy activities and associated employment,” said Ms Binns.

While roof top solar employment accounts for nearly half of the renewable energy jobs, the numbers have declined substantially over time, from a peak of 14,300 in 2011-12 to 6,430 in 2016-17.

The ABS publication, Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia, provides experimental estimates of the levels of employment in renewable energy by state and territory, and by types of renewable energy activities. 
The scope of employment estimates in this publication is employment in activities principally motivated by the production of renewable energy, and/or by the design, construction and/or operation and maintenance of renewable energy infrastructure.

Further details can be found in Employment in Renewable Energy Activities, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4631.0), available for free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/4631.0Media%20Release12016-17?OpenDocument

May 2, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment

A renewable energy jobs boom is sweeping across regional Australia

Renewable energy: powering Australia in more ways than one http://www.examiner.com.au/story/5229330/renewable-energy-is-powering-jobs-in-the-regions/?cs=97 James Wright  18 Feb 18  A jobs boom is sweeping across regional Australia and there’s one industry to thank – the renewable energy sector. From places like Gordon in southern Tasmania to Pindari in north-east NSW, new solar installations, windfarms, battery arrays, solar towers and pumped hydro facilities are springing life into regional towns. How are they doing this? By injecting desperately needed investment and job opportunities into remote locations.

February 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment, energy | Leave a comment