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Victorian budget promises pathways for training and job opportunities in our clean energy transition

The Victorian budget was delivered this week. The government has made considerable commitments to support the switch to renewable energy. This comes in the form of support for training, establishing the State Electricity Commission (SEC), support for manufacturing and funding for VicGrid to release the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework (VTIF) – a framework which will help with coordination, benefits and introduce strategic planning.

According to the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action Secretary, Simon Duggan, in order to meet its climate targets, Victoria will need around three gigawatts of new wind capacity per year – up from the current average delivery of one gigawatt per year. 

The Victorian Government is meeting the gap in project builds with a commitment of $1 billion for the revived State Electricity Commission to establish and deliver 4.5 GW of new generation in the state. The budget adds additional funding for the SEC to establish an office in Morwell and to address workforce and skills challenges.

Having a skilled workforce that can plan and build the necessary infrastructure is crucial for the successful switch to clean energy. With this understanding, the budget makes a commitment of $54.5 million to create pathways and opportunities to develop skills for those who want to seek employment in what is seen as the industry of the future. These commitments include:

  • $19 million for 10,000 students to undertake work experience placements in the clean energy sector and other priority sectors.
  • $16 million to deliver two new clean energy worker training centres – one for hydrogen and one for wind to prepare workers for our emerging industries.
  • $12 million to establish a SEC Centre of Training Excellence to coordinate and accredit courses in clean energy – and attend career nights across government schools.
  • $7.5 million to create a new clean energy pathway for schools that includes introducing clean energy as a VCE Vocational Major from 2024. 

Additionally the Victorian Government will establish a $50 million TAFE Clean Energy Fund, as part of the $170 million Building Better TAFE Fund. The first investments will deliver new and upgraded facilities, including:

  • Stage 2 of the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre at Federation TAFE.
  • A Clean Energy Centre at TAFE Gippsland’s Morwell Campus; and
  • A Building Innovation and Design Centre at South West TAFE.

Manufacturing in renewable energy is important to make sure Victoria are leaders, so the “$21 million to establish a Manufacturing and Industry Sovereignty Fund, providing grants to support the development, expansion and retention of Victoria’s strategic manufacturing capability” is a welcome initiative. 

Offshore wind needs a port for the construction and maintenance of the offshore wind farms so it’s great to see funds for the “planning, design and development” of the Victorian Renewable Energy Terminal development.

Creating a plan and providing funding support to decarbonise our electricity system can create a pathway for jobs and opportunities for regional renewal. The budget shows the Government’s commitment to this opportunity. This investment plan in the budget should be accompanied with continued community engagement and capacity building, including with Traditional Owners, to ensure communities and families in regional Victoria can make the most of the opportunities and be supported in mitigating the impacts of the switch to renewable energy.

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