Around seventy people turned out for the Snowy 2.0 community information session at Club Tumut on Thursday night to receive information about upcoming employment opportunities and provide feedback on the $4 billion-plus project.
A meet and greet with the community was also held on Friday morning at Wynyard Park.
The latest round of community consultation sessions have seen ‘drop in’ sessions and presentations in towns across the Snowy Mountains region, all geared at informing the public of what is to come.
The sessions were designed to inform the public about Snowy 2.0, what benefits it will bring for energy consumers and what employment opportunities will be available for Snowy Valley’s residents and beyond.
“There was a misconception from the community that we would be looking for fly in, fly out workers. Really, it’s much cheaper to procure and hire locally. We want localized workers- people living within a 2 hour radius,” Snowy 2.0 Relations Manager Dean Lynch said.
“We have roles for people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, from engineers to laborers to electricians, even hospitality workers. At the end of the day, its not all about picks and shovels with some 2 million meals a year that need to be made,” Mr Lynch said.
He said that the key message at the information sessions was to inform the Snowy Valleys community to be ready for upcoming opportunities.
“The Tumut community will need to help themselves if they are interested in joining this workforce,” he said. There has never been a more important time to associate with your local council. I would love to see the community embrace this opportunity.”
Mr Lynch said that some 2,000 people would be hired on site by 2020 and that work was already underway with preconstruction on a 3 kilometre exploratory tunnel in which would be one kilometre underground and have a centralized cabin the size of the Sydney Opera House.
“The water storage at Tantangara dam will be half the size of Sydney Harbour. “There’s no other project that is as big as this one and nothing like it in the world.”
Managing Director and CEO of Snowy Hydro Limited, Paul Broad, said that in recent months they had appointed civil, mechanical and electrical contractors, had received the NSW Government’s planning approval for the Exploratory Works program and following all of that, had commenced construction.
“We have already started upgrades to roads in the Lobs Hole area so we gain safe and reliable access to Snowy 2.0’s main worksite. There is a buzz of activity with Snowy 2.0 kicking off in earnest,” Mr Lynch said.
“It’s been great to have more than 70 local businesses already involved in the project and together with Future Generation, the principal contractor building Snowy 2.0, we’ll see more locals come aboard.”
Mr Broad said that he was keen to hear views about Snowy 2.0, discuss local concerns and answer questions.
“Your feedback will be taken into account as part of the environment and planning approvals process for the Snowy 2.0 Main Works.’
Mr Lynch said that the community outlook in Tumut had been very postive and he felt that people were excited about the prospect of future employment.
“It’s defintely an exciting time for the region,” Mr Dean said
Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes said that the community response had been extremely positive and that people had been very interested in jobs, with many questions asked about how to obtain contracts.
“There’s plenty of work, no doubt there. It’s the process of getting that employment and contracts that were discussed. I felt the forum was very knowledgeable with some insightful questions from the community,” Cr Hayes said.
“What we hope is that some of the people who come to work here will be so enamored with the region that they might like to bring their families to stay. I’m hoping our community will be receptive to those who are coming and that council are able to provide the amenities in order for them to live here.
Cr Hayes said that Snowy 2.0 will have a huge economical boost for the region and that council would have to try and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible to come out of it.
“It’s a very big project and that’s the reality. We are in competition with the Cooma side because if we can’t supply what people need from our end, they will supply from their end. It’s a matter of making sure that we have all the elements in place to pull this off,” Cr Hayes said.