The Conservation Council of WA and UnionsWA today commented on the announcement by Rheem that it will cease manufacturing in WA, with a loss of 100 jobs, many for producing solar heating products.
Piers Verstegen, Director, Conservation Council of WA said:
“Western Australia is one of the sunniest parts of the world, and solar hot water is one of the best ways to reduce household energy bills and cut pollution, so this industry should be strongly supported by the WA Government rather than being ignored and neglected.
“We are extremely concerned that clean energy jobs are being cut in Western Australia due in part to a lack of support from the State and Commonwealth Governments.
“A very high proportion of household energy use is due to water heating and solar hot water systems can significantly reduce those costs while reducing pollution at the same time.
“We are calling on the WA Government to step up the level of support for this industry, and urgently develop a package of assistance and incentives to assist low-income households to install solar hot water. This would reduce energy bills, reduce carbon pollution, and support local clean energy jobs.
“One obvious commitment that the State government could make is to install solar hot water on all state-owned housing.
“The Department of Housing should immediately begin talks with Rheem to keep the factory open in order to supply WA-made solar hot water systems for social housing in WA.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“This is a double tragedy.
“This is not just appalling for the future of manufacturing in WA.
“It is also devastating news for affected workers and their families - job losses put livelihoods in jeopardy.
“We need more skilled jobs in industries for the future, making products that help rather than harm our environment.”