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Retooling the economy post-COVID-19

  • May 11 2020
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Invest

Retooling the economy post-COVID-19

By Cameron Micallef
May 11 2020

Australia could add up to $65 billion a year, as well as create 25,000 manufacturing jobs, by becoming a world leader in energy and commodities.

Retooling the economy post-COVID-19

Retooling the economy post-COVID-19

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  • May 11 2020
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Australia could add up to $65 billion a year, as well as create 25,000 manufacturing jobs, by becoming a world leader in energy and commodities.

Retooling the economy post-COVID-19

According to the Grattan Institute, using Australia’s plentiful wind and solar resources to make energy-intensive “green” commodities such as green steel would pay off.

The research paper argued that it could protect tens of thousands of jobs in regions that currently employ coal miners that will become threatened as the world takes a stronger stance on climate change and greenhouse emissions.

Australia only needs to capture about 6.5 per cent of the global steel market through its new green steel to create nearly $65 billion in annual export revenue and more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs in NSW and Queensland’s mining towns.

“Climate change is a wicked conundrum for Australia,” says Grattan Institute’s energy program director and report lead author, Tony Wood. “It’s a threat to our health and to our agriculture and tourism industries – but tens of thousands of Australians work in industries that rely on fossil fuels. 

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“Our practical plan could be a win-win-win: it would create a new export industry, support carbon workers and cut emissions,” Mr Wood continued.

Green steel could help make Australia a renewable energy superpower and represents the best opportunity for exports and job creation in key regions.

Green steel uses hydrogen, produced from renewable energy, to replace metallurgical coal to reduce iron ore to iron metal. Australia’s extensive wind and solar energy resources mean we can make hydrogen, and therefore green steel, more cheaply than countries such as Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

To do this at a global scale will require big industrial workforces – such as those found in the coal-mining regions of central Queensland and the Hunter Valley in NSW.

It is cheaper to make green steel in those places, where labour is available and affordable, than in the Pilbara in Western Australia – despite the cost of shipping iron ore to the east coast.

Smaller but still valuable opportunities in green steel and aviation biofuel exist in other locations, including Port Kembla in NSW, Portland in Victoria, Whyalla in South Australia, and Collie in Western Australia.

Retooling the economy post-COVID-19
Retooling the economy post-COVID-19
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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