The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has signed new work arrangements with Japanese energy giant Inpex which will support up to 2,000 Australian jobs.
The agreements relate to the $34 billion dollar Ichthys LNG project off the north-west coast of Australia and will run until at 2030. It includes commitments towards the development of maritime employees, the implementation of a diversity program and the promotion of Australian crews on certain Project support vessels.
These commitments are aimed at retaining and enhancing the skills and experience of Australian maritime workers in the offshore oil and gas sector and also involve an enhanced dispute settlement process with a dedicated conciliator to help resolve potential disputes without resort to industrial action.
The work arrangements cover rig tenders, drilling rigs, seismic vessels, supply vessels and accommodation vessels.
MUA Western Australian Branch Secretary and National President Chris Cain said: “As a result of this arrangement, we expect there will be up to 2,000 Australian jobs on the project – not just for MUA seafarers but other maritime workers as well, all on Aussie wages and conditions.
“This is great news for Australian workers who have been experiencing the recent downturn in offshore oil and gas construction, and we’d like to thank Inpex for sitting down with us and finding a way to maximize local jobs on this important project.”
In addition to the MUA, the agreement also covers the Australian Maritime Officers Union and Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers.
The Ichthys Project, located in the Browse Basin, about 220 kilometers (140 miles) offshore, is expected to produce 8.9 million tons of LNG and 1.6 million tons of LPG each year, along with more than 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.
It is estimated that the operational phase of the Inpex gas plant could be up to 40 years as Australia joins Qatar as the world’s largest producer of LNG.
MUA National Secretary and International Transport Workers’ Federation President Paddy Crumlin said jobs for members and energy security are both central topics at the moment.
“This announcement provides great relief to our members and other Australian workers, many of whom are currently unemployed and rightly expect to have first crack at jobs in their own country,” he said.
“These natural resources belong to the Australian people and are our sovereign wealth now and going forward. “
These types of work arrangements are incredibly important to provide investment certainty and security of supply, he said. “It is worth noting that since the MUA and the other Maritime Unions signed a similar agreement covering the north-west shelf in the 1980s, not a single day has been lost to industrial action.”