Industrial action at the Kogan Creek power station in Queensland could pose challenges for authorities as summer approaches, with unions warning of potential blackouts. Workers at the power station have voted to take industrial action over stalled enterprise bargaining negotiations with CS Energy, the Queensland government-owned corporation. The Mining and Energy Union (MEU) has expressed disappointment in the lack of progress made since March and has exhausted all avenues for resolution.
The industrial action, scheduled to begin on Thursday, will include limiting the number of conveyor belts transporting coal from the Kogan Creek coal mine to the power station. MEU district vice president Shane Brunker warns that if the issues remain unresolved, it could impact the power network heading into summer and potentially result in blackouts. Kogan Creek power station is responsible for generating about 10% of Queensland’s power, with some being supplied to northern New South Wales.
The MEU has outlined several conditions it wants included in a new pay deal, such as the payout of personal leave, the removal of caps on redundancy payments, and better transparency on the use of contractors. Additionally, the union is seeking the inclusion of an energy workers’ charter in the new enterprise bargaining agreement. CS Energy claims to have made a “generous offer” that provides employees with favorable terms and conditions.
However, concerns have been raised by the Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood about the potential impacts of the industrial action. With repairs still underway at the Callide power station, the capacity for power generation in Queensland is diminished. Wood emphasizes that this, combined with concerns about older and less reliable coal-fired power stations, could make it more challenging for authorities. State Energy Minister Mark de Brenni has previously stated that supply is expected to exceed forecast demand for the upcoming summer.
As the industrial action proceeds, authorities will need to closely monitor the situation and ensure alternative plans are in place to maintain a stable power supply throughout the summer months.
Sources: ABC News, Grattan Institute