$13 billion manufacturing windfall for Gladstone and Hunter

July 22, 2021

Recent modelling shows Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in our regions have enormous economic potential

Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts in Gladstone, Queensland and the Hunter Valley, New South Wales will add a windfall of $13 billion to the economy and 45,000 ongoing jobs by 2032.

These are the key findings of new research released today by leading economic analysts ACIL Allen, commissioned by Beyond Zero Emissions and the WWF-Australia.

The precincts offer low-cost energy through 100% renewable electricity to clusters of manufacturers. They are designed to capitalise on growing global demand for zero-emissions products, strengthen employment in emissions intensive regions and commercialise Australia’s world leading research and development on-shore.

“Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts will repower Australian manufacturing and make our manufacturers competitive on the global stage” said Heidi Lee, CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions.

“The precincts offer an incredible return on investment. More than any other sector, manufacturing delivers innovation, productivity growth and high-quality jobs. Manufacturing has a particularly powerful multiplier effect – the ability to create jobs indirectly – due to manufacturers’ reliance on extensive supply chains.

“Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts join the dots between the Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy, the Technology Investment Roadmap, the National Hydrogen Strategy and development of Renewable Energy Zones.”

Lee said the response to the call for expressions of interest had been overwhelming.

“More than 40 companies and organisations in Gladstone and in the Hunter, representing over 4,600 employees, can see the immense value in a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct. They understand all too well that low cost, low emissions electricity is the key to reviving and sustaining Australia’s manufacturing sector.

CEO of Molycop in the Hunter Valley Michael Parker said, “There is no doubt that realising the key benefits of Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts would be a gamechanger for Australia’s manufacturing industry.

“Molycop is extremely proud of being at the forefront of responsible and sustainable steelmaking and manufacturing through our support of renewable energy and commitment to building the circular economy to liberate value from waste streams.”

“We know that modernising manufacturing with renewable energy is crucial to Australian industry prospering in a low emissions future.”

Principal at ACIL Allen, Guy Jakeman, said, “Modelling of a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in Gladstone by ACIL Allen showed that, if the expected projects eventuate, such a Precinct has the potential to create 11,000 local jobs and generate an additional $2 billion in revenue by 2032. In the Hunter, a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct could create 34,000 new local jobs in new industries and $11 billion in revenue by 2032.

“These new manufacturing activities will attract capital investment of $35.8 billion to these two regions.

“In addition we calculated the impact on the communities: the average annual incomes for all residents in the Gladstone region will be $20,000 higher by 2032 if the precinct is built, while the average Hunter resident will be $4,133 better off per year by 2032 if the precinct is built.

“The EU is helping its manufacturers to decarbonise through its Industrial Strategy, an integral part of Europe’s Green Deal, and the UK is subsidising zero-carbon industrial clusters.
“While Australia’s extensive land and high quality renewable resources mean we have the ability to produce some of the lowest cost zero emissions electricity and hydrogen in the world, we are at risk of being outspent by other countries, squandering our comparative advantage.

“Our modelling demonstrates that, if we can get the infrastructure and regulatory conditions right, Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts could not only protect Australia’s regional economies but increase their status as export powerhouses, create tens of thousands of good quality regional jobs, and attract billions in new capital investment to regional communities.”

Key findings include:


  • Establishing a Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct in Gladstone will create 11,000 local jobs and generate an additional $2 billion in revenue by 2032.
  • New manufacturing activities will attract capital investment of $7.8 billion to the region, including $1.7 billion in for key infrastructure such as storage/firming facilities. An additional $2 billion in revenue per annum will flow into the region by 2032.

Hunter Valley

  • Establishing a precinct in the Hunter will create 34,000 new local jobs in new industries and $11 billion in revenue by 2032.
  • New capital investment of $28 billion in the region, including $8.6 billion for storage/firming capacity, transmission lines, freight networks and hydrogen infrastructure and export facilities. An extra $11 billion in revenue will be generated per year by 2032.

The full report can be found on the Beyond Zero Emissions website. Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Heidi Lee is available for interviews or to write editorials.

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