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Green manufacturing hubs in mining regions could add $30bn to the economy, new report says

Green-powered industrial hubs in Gladstone and the Hunter Valley could add $13bn to the nation’s economy and create 45,000 jobs, new economic analysis claims.

A report by economics firm ACL Allen – commissioned by environmentalist group Beyond Zero Emissions – says the two mining communities could benefit from an industrial precinct producing renewable steel, ­energy storage batteries and ­hydrogen.

By adopting a green manufacturing future, the Hunter is forecast to create 34,000 local jobs and $11bn in revenue by 2032 and a Gladstone industry precinct would create 11,000 local jobs and generate an additional $2bn in the same period.

The economic proposals come after projections on Tuesday that the nation could lose out on $15bn and 70,000 jobs if Australian ­industry failed to adapt to ­prospective carbon border taxes in Europe, Britain, Japan, and the US.

Beyond Zero Emissions chief executive Heidi Lee said renewable manufacturing hubs in regional NSW and Queensland would “join the dots” between the Morrison government’s technology push to reduce emissions and its plans to boost manufacturing.

“Manufacturing has a particularly powerful multiplier effect – the ability to create jobs indirectly – due to manufacturers’ reliance on extensive supply chains,” she said. “Renewable energy industrial precincts join the dots ­between the government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy, the Technology Investment Roadmap, the National Hydrogen Strategy and development of ­Renewable Energy Zones.”

The industrial precincts are projected to be powered purely by “renewable energy zones” being set up in the Hunter and Gladstone, and supported by their ­respective state governments.

ACL Allen principal Guy Jakeman said manufacturing precincts could attract up to $35.8bn in capital investment to both ­regions by 2032 and raise the ­average wages of workers. “The average annual incomes for all residents in the Gladstone region will be $20,000 higher by 2032 if the precinct is built, while the average Hunter resident will be $4133 better off per year by 2032 if the precinct is built,” he said.

Analysis by Deloitte Access Economics on Tuesday said ­delaying action towards net-zero carbon emissions – a likely green tariff trigger – would slash Australia’s share of global investment, driving up costs in the services and construction sectors by 40-90 per cent.

Grattan Institute energy ­director Tony Wood said the ­nation must begin to prepare for a manufacturing world dominated by green technology.

Source: The Australian