By Alex Cassie
The town of Collie was created for the coal industry, which has powered WA for a century. The Collie community is full of skilled workers who for generations have kept the lights on in WA. The increasing use of renewable energy and the diminishing demand for coal should not mean that people are turned out of work and their towns abandoned.
Bluewaters Power Station, Collie
A successful Just Transition will ensure that Collie can have local well-paying jobs as well as a good outcome for the environment and lower energy bills.
This Plan was developed by the Just Transition Working Group which brought together unions, employers, community leaders, government, and others to develop a plan to protect the jobs and future of the town of Collie over the next 15 years, during which we will see a decline in the demand for coal.
The Working Group itself was established after the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and other unions and community groups pushed the approach that nothing should be decided about Collie’s future without Collie’s input.
A successful Just Transition will ensure that we can have local well-paying jobs as well as a good outcome for the environment and lower energy bills.
The intention of the Plan is to make sure that, despite the transition away from coal, the community of Collie can go from strength to strength. The Plan is focused on the four areas identified by the Working Group as essential:
- Maximising opportunities for affected workers;
- Diversification of the local economy;
- Celebrating Collie’s history and promoting its future
- Ensuring ongoing commitment for the Just Transition.
The release of the Plan, signed off by the Premier, was a real milestone that should be celebrated. But now the work begins to make sure the plan gets done. AMWU delegate at Muja Power Station, Sean Emmett, speaking at the launch of the plan said, “I believe there are lots of jobs that can be created and maintained in these new systems, but we are the ones who will make the difference as to what that future looks like.”
The strength of the Collie community and its unions will be the best resource it has going into the future.