- Marinus Link is set to be the second interconnector to the National Electricity Market via the Bass Strait
- An $800k redevelopment alone will create 10 construction jobs and host 12 diverse employees
- Locals are concerned about environmental impacts and lack of clear community benefits
Regional areas in Tasmania are set to benefit from ongoing investment into renewable energy projects, according to the Tasmanian Government.
Among the latest projects in this sector, the Marinus Link is a proposed high-voltage, direct-current interconnector across the Bass Strait that will connect Tasmania with the National Electricity Market through Victoria.
If constructed, this will be the second interconnector between the two states after BassLink.
Guy Barnett, the Tasmanian Minister for Energy, said TasNetwork’s Deloraine Depot, based in Tasmania’s north-west will undergo an $800,000 redevelopment.
He says the roles that will be based rurally are diverse such as planning and survey roles, engineering services, safety, land procurement services alongside community and customer engagement officer.
“Tasmania, as the nation’s leading renewable energy state, is perfectly placed to deliver what the country needs – low cost, reliable and clean energy that deliver energy security, downward pressure on prices, providing much needed economic stimulus and jobs,” said Mr Barnett.
As of mid-2020, Tasmania was home to 540,000 making it the least populous of the states, with about half of the population based in either Hobart or Launceston.
Much of the renewable energy projects occur outside these two cities, which the government argues benefits regional communities.
Locals not convinced of the benefits
There is, however, some concern from the local community.
The Circular Head Chronicle reported last month 150 locals attended a community meeting where concerns were raised for various renewable projects in the region, such as the Marinus Link itself.
Many fear environmental damage, lack of local community benefits and that some of the jobs are being outsourced to fly-in-fly-out workers.
This is despite the Deloraine Depot redevelopment that is set to provide up to 10 jobs during construction alone before ultimately housing 12 Project Marinus employees, according to Mr Barnett.
Locals have remarked the Robbins Island Wind Farm, which will be connected to the transmission line, will damage local environment which they say will decrease property value.
“Our small tourism businesses will suffer, beautiful places which bring people from around the world will be trashed by power lines,” said a local from SOLVE Tasmania – a community group challenging the project.
Mr Barnett says dozens are already employed supporting the Marinus Link project and over 200 direct and indirect jobs will be injected into Tasmania during 2021-22. He firmly believes the project will boost the local community.
“It is clear that Marinus Link and supporting transmission will play a vital role as we rebuild from COVID-19 by creating billions in economic growth, thousands of jobs and be a source of skills development in Tasmania and regional Victoria.”