UNION CONCERNS: Stanwell Power Station workers could be vulnerable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNION CONCERNS: Stanwell Power Station workers could be vulnerable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virus concerns for staff at Qld's Stanwell Power Station

A UNION fears the COVID-19 outbreak could create a potential staff shortage at government-owned power generators including CQ's Stanwell Power Station, crippling Queensland's power network.

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland District vice president Shane Brunker said government-owned energy corporations needed to urgently establish registers of skilled workers who could be called upon to fill staff shortages, and provide those workers with appropriate training.

"Under the Federal Government protocols, workers testing positive having to spend at least 14 days in quarantine, and co-workers who have contact with infected workers also having to self-isolate," Mr Brunker said.

"Given that shift crews come into contact with each other at changeover, even a minor outbreak among the workforce could force a large number of shift workers into lengthy absences - leaving our energy generation assets at risk.

"The government-owned corporations simply do not have the workforce capacity at their sites to cover such a scenario."

Mr Brunker said there was a pool of skilled energy workers in the Queensland workforce who could be called upon to fill staff shortages if needed, but we had to start planning for that situation now.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and Acting Stanwell Power Station Manager Angie Zahra.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham and Acting Stanwell Power Station Manager Angie Zahra.

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Anthony Lynham responded saying there were now special leave provisions available for government-owned corporations to apply to their workforces.

"These leave arrangements will assist our publicly-owned energy companies to manage their critical staff," he said.

"They are already acting to manage those staff - including the generators looking at the sharing of critical staff.

"I can assure Queenslanders that if staff are taken offline, well-rehearsed contingency procedures will ensure ongoing reliable, electricity supply."


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