Economic Impact Summary
An Economic Impact Assessment prepared by Jacobs discusses the potential economic impacts associated with the Project. The Assessment provides a summary of the regional socio-economic baseline across the Latrobe, Baw Baw and South Gippsland municipalities and examines the impacts of the project in this context.
To complete the economic impact assessment a review of ABS data and Remplan statistics (where ABS data is unavailable) to determine the socioeconomic baseline followed by input-output (IO) modelling using two economic impact analysis tools:
- an IO Tool developed at Flinders University; and
- Clean Energy Council (CEC) methods in its ‘Wind Farm Investment, Employment and carbon abatement in Australia’ report.
Population growth in Latrobe and South Gippsland is slower than across the balance of Victoria, a trend that is forecast to continue. The EIA identifies that major projects such as the Delburn Wind Farm may help retain population in Latrobe and South Gippsland by providing medium- and long-term employment and income earning opportunities for existing residents and businesses.
There is a need for projects to support the Gross Regional Product (GRP – net measure of wealth generated by a region) across Baw Baw, Latrobe and South Gippsland council areas. The economies of these areas are expected to be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic into the 2021-22 financial year. There is also a need to continue diversifying the region’s economy ahead of the planned retirement of coal-fired power generation within the Latrobe Valley.
Unemployment rates have decreased over recent years; however, it is expected that unemployment rates will double in Baw Baw, Latrobe and South Gippsland as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Assessment identifies that higher unemployment will increase workforce availability for the Project.
Within the three LGAs covered by the project there is a relatively high proportion of labourers, technicians and trades people that will be needed for the Project. There are also medium sized businesses within the transport, postal and warehousing industry in South Gippsland and within the manufacturing and construction businesses across the region to support the delivery of the Project.
Latrobe, Baw Baw and South Gippsland are relatively vulnerable to economic slowdowns as average household incomes are lower than the Victorian average and Latrobe also has a relatively high level of socio-economic disadvantage.
The project location represents an excellent opportunity for renewable energy generation in Victorian given its proximity to high-capacity transmission connections to the Victorian grid as well as a significant number of local employers with relevant skills.
A number of assumptions have necessarily been made to inform the impact analysis, including:
- project timelines;
- quantum of direct expenditure;
- industry allocation of expenditure; and
- location of expenditure.
The Project is expected to generate substantial and ongoing economic benefits to the Latrobe, Baw Baw and South Gippsland municipalities by creating a new source of employment and injecting a significant amount of investment into the regional economies, which may help offset some of the projected economic slowdown and increases in unemployment.
The combined construction and operation of the Project is expected to create a $106 million increase in GRP across the three LGAs over a 32 year period comprising $22.5 million per annum during the two year construction period and $2.1million per annum over the 30 years of operation.
The Project is expected to create an additional 186 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction period and an additional 25 ongoing full-time equivalent jobs over the 30-year period of operation. This will assist with alleviating the projected economic slowdown and rising unemployment partly resulting from the closure of coal-fired power stations within the Latrobe Valley, while leveraging existing infrastructure assets and utilise local skills sets.
Other Impacts Assessed
Property Value: it is considered unlikely that there will be any adverse impact on property values at any stage of the Project’s development.
Land owner income: annual lease payment of approximately $1.5 million to host land owner, and $500,000 per annum in neighbour contributions to be shared between the 103 dwelling owners within 2 kilometres of the wind farm.
Community Benefits: $150,000 per annum contribution to a Community Development Fund to support community and environment programs, 6.2 km of local roads to be upgraded and repaired and $403,000 per annum in municipal charges contributed to Latrobe, Baw Baw and South Gippsland Councils under the Electricity Industry Act 2000.
Energy Impacts: approximately 590,000MWh of renewable energy generated each year, which will assist the Victorian Government in meeting renewable energy targets and make up lost generation capacity following the retirement of the Latrobe Valley coal-fired power stations.
Environmental Impacts: the potential to reduce carbon emissions and produce benefits of up to approximately $9.5 million each year or $285.7 million over the Project’s 30-year life.