Maintenance upgrades, renewable energy projects flagged under WA’s $5.5b recovery plan

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday July 27, 2020

Adobe

The Western Australian government has released a $5.5 billion plan to create more jobs across a range of sectors and drive long-term economic and social recovery across the state.

The WA Recovery Plan unveiled on Sunday centres on 21 priority streams, including local manufacturing, tourism, new technologies, patient care, and the environment. Initiatives to be carried out within each stream include capital works, grants, programs and projects.

Premier Mark McGowan said the plan was focussed on getting the public back to work and WA “back on track”.

“The WA Recovery Plan will help drive the economic and social recovery across the state, to ensure we can recover, stronger than ever,” he said.

“This comprehensive plan is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before in WA. It will deliver a pipeline of short and long-term jobs for Western Australians, supporting and strengthening our existing industries, as well as laying the foundation for jobs of the future.”

The plan includes a $60 million boost for “shovel-ready” maintenance upgrades to key state government facilities, creating jobs for a range of workers such as electricians, painters, plumbers, builders and carpenters. McGowan flagged upgrades to disability access at train stations, WA Police stations, and Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and Career Fire and Rescue Service stations.

Another aspect of the plan is a $66.3 million renewable energy technology package to encourage “innovative, clean energy projects” that would create jobs, reduce costs and improve WA’s renewable energy footprint.

Through the investment, WA’s North-West would see $44.5 million worth of infrastructure installed, including 50 standalone power systems, nine Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) in nine regional communities, and upgrades in remote Aboriginal communities.

Expected to be delivered over three months, each BESS project would reduce generation costs by up to $322,000 a year and create approximately 20 jobs during design, construction and installation phases.

On top of an initial $9.3 million investment, a further $10 million would go towards the Clean Energy Future Fund, allowing “clean energy innovators” to apply for funding of between $250,000 and $2 million for clean energy projects.

Roughly 500 social housing properties would benefit from $6 million worth of solar panels, while up to 60 bus and rail stations would receive $1.8 million worth of solar panels.

Meanwhile, $4 million would go towards up to 10 schools for smart, green Virtual Power Plants, rooftop solar panel systems and commercial batteries.

Energy minister Bill Johnston said the move would help WA become “greener and cleaner” while creating jobs.

The recovery plan was developed with state recovery controller Sharyn O’Neill and in consultation with the State Recovery Advisory Group, with representatives from business, industry, not-for-profit organisations, UnionsWA, the public sector, local government and the community.

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