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Labor accused of “stitch up” over Albany wave energy project

The Nationals WA have accused the McGowan Government of a stitch up over the Albany wave energy project, which new figures show has created zero local jobs.

Energy spokesperson Terry Redman said despite carrying out a tender process, Carnegie Clean Energy was always in the box seat to secure a $15.75 million Government contract to build the wave farm. 

“Before the tender process began, it was known that Carnegie held exclusive rights over 19,500 hectares of ocean floor off the Albany coast,” Mr Redman said.

“The Government stipulated the wave farm needed to be built in proximity to the onshore Albany wind farm, which excluded every other bidder except Carnegie. So it’s essentially a stitch up.

“This was a flawed tender process and one which looks even more dubious when you consider the Regional Development Minister’s past links to Carnegie.”

Mr Redman has previously raised issue with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan’s “hands-on” role in the project.

The Minister owned a minority stake in Carnegie’s third-biggest shareholder at the time the-then Labor opposition unveiled plans for the wave farm in February 2017.

Ms MacTiernan divested her shares after Labor’s election victory but Freedom of Information documents reveal she later told agency staff that she would be leading the project, despite it not falling under the scope of her portfolio.

This week information obtained in Parliament by The Nationals WA revealed only 16 jobs had so far been created as part of the troubled wave farm project – all of which were located in Perth or the UK.

Mr Redman said the damning figures once again showed the project was not delivering for the people of Albany. 

“It’s hard to forget the now infamous media statement put out by the Opposition Leader – and now Premier – Mark McGowan back in 2017 with a headline trumpeting a ‘Jobs Boost’ and promising ‘hundreds’ of jobs as Albany transitioned into a ‘globally recognised energy hub’,” Mr Redman said. 

“The Minister for Regional Development – who has been the face of this project since that media statement was released in February 2017 – has a long way to go to restore her and Labor’s credibility with the Albany community.

“The Minister is yet to prove that this project is nothing more than a drain on taxpayer funds with no employment benefits for Albany jobseekers.”