The $4 billion Snowy 2.0 project will be a boon to local business, sub-contractors and job-seekers, a public meeting on Tuesday hosted by the Tumut Chamber of Commerce was told.
About 50 people turned out at Club Tumut to hear Snowy Hydro relations manager Dean Lynch update the community on the project, which will build a 27km tunnel from Tantangara Dam to Talbingo Dam, as well as a new power station underground.
About 70 workers are currently working around Lobs Hole on early works, which include road upgrades.
They’ve filled up the working township of Cabramurra and nearby accommodation at Adaminaby, with numbers working on the project expected to ramp up to 200 in coming months.
At peak periods, some 1200-1500 people will be working on the project, Mr Lynch said, with many housed at a purpose-built accommodation facility at Lobs Hole.
While a portion of jobs would be specialised, drawing workers from further afield, including internationally, Mr Lynch said contractors working on the project will seek to employ people from the local region where possible.
“From where the contractors sit, it’s cheaper for them to employ and procure locally,” Mr Lynch said.
The major contractors were working with TAFE and local councils to ensure communities around Snowy 2.0, including Cooma, Jindabyne, Tumut and Tumbarumba, had the necessary skillsets.
“We’re putting a team together to work with TAFE to establish ways to get the local community the right skills to be employed on the project – whether that be civil works, human resources or hospitality,” Mr Lynch said. “That might take 12 months, but we’re talking a long term project – potentially sustained work for 12 years.
“We want to make sure we train the community with the skills so that once the project is finished, those skills can help those people stay in the community.”
For those who are employed on the project, Snowy Hydro intends to accommodate those people at Lob’s Hole or Cabramurra.
“It will be like a mining site – so it’s worth keeping in mind you won’t be able to come home to your family at the end of the day. Whether its 20 days on and 10 off, or something else, they’ll be 12 hour shifts.”
“There’ll also be sub-contractors put on … I think there’ll be more work available than people can poke a stick at.”
Mr Lynch said Snowy Hydro and the contractors were intent on leaving a legacy.
“We want the communities to be stronger after this,” Mr Lynch said.
“We’re here to work with the community to make sure you get the most value out of this project as possible.”