Over the last few months I've been meeting with the Maritime Union of Australia executive and activists with the Fremantle Community Wind Farm project. In some really great news, the union and its members have come behind the project. See their press release below:
Maritime workers declare support for Fremantle Community Wind Farm
Over 700 give it their backing in unanimous vote-Tuesday 27 November
"The WA branch of the Maritime Union of Australia is proud to declare its support for the proposed Fremantle Community Wind Farm." said MUA Assistant Branch Secretary Will Tracey. He said that the union and it's members had given the matter careful consideration.
"The proposal was discussed by the executive and then presented to port workers themselves to consider. Motions of support for the proposal were unanimously endorsed at all meetings of workers from QUBE, Patricks, Ativo and Fremantle Ports."
The union's backing for the Community Wind Farm was then decisively confirmed today (Tuesday 27 November). Tracey said, "In a massive show of support, over 700 maritime workers attending the MUA's Annual General Meeting unanimously approved a resolution to back a community wind farm."
Tracey directly contradicted rumours that opposition from the MUA was in any way responsible for the reluctance of the Fremantle Port Authority to lease land to the wind farm.
"Of course the union, its members and the occupational health and safety representatives reserve the right to be satisfied that any new project will not adversely affect workers' health. However that's a decision we will make based on the proven science. We reject the attempt by some of the opponents of the wind farm to speak on our behalf on this matter."
Tracey explained that there is no contradiction between a union like the MUA which has many members employed in the offshore oil and gas industry supporting renewable energy.
"Unlike some of the employers in the oil and gas industry, the union has never been among the ranks of the climate change deniers. Our members care about the environment and the world that their children will inherit as much as anyone else."
Tracey emphasized that blue collar workers in the resource extraction industry are not the obstacle to the creation of a sustainable future, but vital to its success,
"These workers would embrace the chance to shift into renewables and they have the skills that will be required for the construction of major renewable energy infrastructure. The wind farms, solar thermal plants and tidal power projects of the future will need experienced divers, seafarers, riggers, welders, scaffolders, crane operators, barge workers and so on."
Tracey pointed out that it was a lack of commitment by the Fremantle Port Authority to accommodate such a positive initiative that was holding back renewable energy, not working people.
"We applaud the Fremantle Community Wind Farm for taking the initiative to deliver a model of jobs creation through environmental sustainability. Furthermore the community owned model whereby the revenues from the power generation are returned to the community match our union's values."
For further comment contact Will Tracey: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0423 895 575