The industry set to bring thousands of jobs to region
THE renewable energy and environmental restoration industries could bring thousands of jobs to the Darling Downs a new report has found.
The economic modelling from AlphaBeta, commissioned by the Climate Council, found up to 20,000 jobs could be created in Queensland, rapidly getting people back into the workforce while also tackling climate change.
The modelling was released as part of the Climate Council's Queensland Clean Jobs plan.
The report found if significant investment was made across the state in various sectors, about 5,500 jobs could be created in ecosystem restoration and revegetation, about 2,200 jobs in large scale renewables, about 1,600 jobs in making homes more energy efficient and about 350 jobs from both research and development funding and green hydrogen facilities.
Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the Queensland Government was currently in the process of mapping out several renewable energy zones throughout the state, including the Darling Downs Renewable Energy Zone.
"By declaring a renewable energy zone in the Darling Downs, the Queensland Government can help to accelerate investment," Ms McKenzie said.
"This will support local jobs and secure a steady pipeline of renewable energy projects in the Toowoomba area and broader region."
Projects like the proposed 200MW Wambo wind farm (200 jobs) and 40MW Kingaroy solar farm (100 jobs) would make up the renewable energy zone.
"The Clean Jobs Plan is unique because of the speed at which it can get people back to work," Ms McKenzie said.
"It sets us on a practical, jobs-rich path and focuses on areas most in need.
"It sets us up for the future, by creating jobs and tackling climate change. It's a win-win solution."
Local horticulturist Peter McQueen said the job opportunities in the Toowoomba region in ecosystem restoration vary across all vegetation types.
"From weed management and habitat restoration along the escarpment below us here at Picnic Point, establishing koala habitat and corridors, to restoring vegetation and habitat throughout the Condamine Catchment to the west," he said.
"This is an opportunity to rethink how we do many things.
"If people are losing jobs lets take the opportunity to create some jobs, and improve the health of the people and landscapes.
"With good funding, and with good management and directing resources to where they may be most effectively used, potentially hundreds of jobs could be created locally (in environmental restoration)."