MLA makes waves over Carnegie jobs

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
bus CARNEGIE Albany Wave Energy Project activities underway
Camera Iconbus CARNEGIE Albany Wave Energy Project activities underway Credit: unknown/supplied

The State Government’s multimillion dollar investment in wave energy technology in Albany has created just 21 jobs in two years — most of them in Perth.

That figure was released in Parliament on February 12 and combined employment stemming from the State Government’s partnerships with Carnegie Clean Energy and the University of Western Australia.

The figures reveal 15 of Carnegie’s 16 employees on the project are based in Perth — and one in the UK.

Meanwhile, the State’s partnership with UWA will have created five full-time jobs in Albany by “early 2019”.

On top of these figures are 25 workers employed on contracts in Albany.

However, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan could not confirm if those were new jobs, or if they were existing employees of contracted businesses.

The figures have spurred yet another dispute between Warren Blackwood MP Terry Redman and Ms MacTiernan.

Mr Redman, who has long questioned the merits of the State Government’s $19.5 million partnership with Carnegie, said the project had become a drain on the taxpayer with little benefit to Albany jobseekers.

“The Albany wave energy farm was outed as a commercial-scale project which then turned into a gimmicky science experiment dressed up as an R&D project producing one megawatt of energy for one year, if that,” he said.

“Now ... we learn that the project has only produced a handful of jobs in Perth and one in the United Kingdom.”

However, Ms MacTiernan fired back.

She restated previous complaints by Carnegie that changes to Federal R&D tax incentives had rocked the business, and stressed jobs were the long-term goal.

“Government has a critical role in supporting early-stage technology and R&D to ensure our State and our regions are technology makers, not tech-nology takers — which will create long-term sustainable jobs in the region,” Ms MacTiernan said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails