20 October 2022

Transgrid teams up with RDA to prepare for the Riverina jobs boom

| Chris Roe
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Transgrid’s Brett Redman and RDA’s Rachel Whiting sign the $1.5 million funding agreement. Photo: Supplied.

Energy infrastructure giant Transgrid has backed the ongoing work of Regional Development Australia (RDA), forming a new partnership to invest in the Riverina.

The $1.5 million Workforce Development Strategic Partnership will focus on jobs and training, and liveability solutions.

“The thing that makes this funding partnership unique is that these are existing programs that needed more support to extend their reach and their capacity,” explained the RDA’s Rachel Whiting.

“Our programs work with young people, and all people, trying to encourage them to either stay in the Riverina or move to the Riverina to take on career opportunities.”

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The funding will support programs such as the Riverina Liveability Hub, Riverina Workforce Hub and Youth Pathways.

Ms Whiting said the region was already “screaming for workers” and the aim was to build capacity to meet existing demand as well as taking advantage of future opportunities.

“What we know is that the major projects will create more positions, so what Transgrid is doing is supporting the work that we do in trying to find people for those roles.”

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Transgrid CEO Brett Redman says the organisation is committed to investing in the Riverina. Photo: Chris Roe.

Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said the company was committed to making a long-term investment in the local workforce.

“We are building the transmission superhighway which will transform the energy supply for millions of Australians, and the Riverina is in the driver’s seat with our major clean-energy projects centred on the region,” he said.

The state’s transmission grid owner has three major projects coming through this region and due for completion in 2024, 2026 and 2028.

“We’re looking to put the three projects in together,” Mr Redman explained.

“We want to create a program that will allow the workforce to transition from one to the next without the boom-bust cycles that major projects often go through.”

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He hopes that the partnership with RDA will target some of the key challenges around employment and lifestyle.

“These things like youth and employment skills training and thinking about how we get people into housing,” he said.

“That’s what the $1.5 million will go towards, to help solve the challenges that come with growth and to leave a lasting benefit for the local community.”

Ms Whiting clarified that while housing solutions were not the focus of the current project, it was something that they were both invested in.

“I think it’s definitely something that Transgrid are interested in pursuing,” she said.

Housing its incoming workforce is an important issue for the energy transmission company and Mr Redman says it was working with local councils to explore a range of options.

“I know part of that discussion is about how to put in place short-term accommodation that potentially has a lasting legacy,” he said.

“For example, maybe we can build some short-term accommodation for our workers that later on fruit pickers could use in a seasonal sense.

“So all options are on the table and we’re engaging heavily with councils to find good, long-lasting solutions to take some of the pressure off the local regions.”

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