THE MARITIME Union of Australia says maritime workers will benefit from investment and expansion of offshore renewable energy projects.

The union welcomed the federal government’s announcement of public consultation for a new renewable energy zone off the coastline of New South Wales in the Illawarra, near Port Kembla.

The MUA said it would lead to hundreds of new maritime jobs in seafaring and portside activities during construction and operation of large-scale offshore wind installations.

MUA assistant national secretary Adrian Evans said these new jobs are a direct result of the growing investment in sustainable, reliable and clean renewable energy being unlocked by regulatory and legislative reforms which the MUA has campaigned for over many years.

“It is members of the MUA who built and delivered some of the world’s largest offshore oil and gas infrastructure over the last fifty years, and our members now stand ready to put their skills towards building these huge, incredible wind turbines out at sea so that we can decarbonise our economy,” Mr Evans said.

MUA Southern NSW branch secretary Scott Carter said the Illawarra has the perfect combination of port infrastructure, manufacturing industries, skilled workers and grid-network connections to make offshore wind an obvious choice.

“Cheaper and more reliable renewable energy will keep manufacturing towns like Wollongong working for decades to come, which is good for the economy and good for our community, so we are excited to play such an important role in building the infrastructure that will make that possible,” Mr Carter said.