Work opportunities snowballing at Snowy 2.0 sites
The largest renewable energy project in the country is keeping businesses in the Snowy Mountains afloat after the region was hit by a triple blow of drought, bushfires, and COVID-19.
The massive Snowy 2.0 project, which will add enough power generation and storage capability to power three million homes for a week, is set to create thousands of additional jobs.
Many of those jobs will be created in the Cooma area, the site of The Daily Telegraph's upcoming Bush Summit.
The Cooma location for this year's Bush Summit will highlight the opportunities in the bush, while acknowledging the huge blow summer's bushfires had on the regions.
"At its peak, it'll have probably a couple thousand extra people (employed) in the mountains and all those people will spend dollars," Snowy 2.0 Chief Executive Officer Paul Broad told The Daily Telegraph.
The Snowy 2.0 boss said he is actively trying to recruit locals to build the project.
"We're talking truck drivers and semi-skilled labourers that are now being actively recruited by the contractors with assistance in the mountains today," Mr Broad said.
Snowy 2.0 even booked out 60-beds at a local pub in Adaminaby left vacant after the fires to house workers for six months, Mr Broad said.
The state's regions are set to play a big role in the coronavirus recovery, as they remain largely unscathed by virus outbreaks.
One local business benefiting from Snowy 2.0 is Cooma Sand and Concrete, which is providing ready mix concrete to help build the project's 27km tunnel.
"If it wasn't for Snowy 2, things would be rather grim," manager Marco Revelant told The Daily Telegraph.
He said the $6 billion scheme is "the biggest single project (in the area) in the last 40 years".
"It's bringing a lot of people (and) a lot of business into town," he said.
Despite low levels of COVID-19 in the regions, hospitality industries have suffered from a downturn in activity.
Local cafe owner Matthew Lucas is also cashing in on the Snowy 2.0 project. His Coffee Pedaler cafe is running a coffee van seven days a week at the Lobs Hole construction site, about an hour's drive out of Tumut.
Mr Lucas' coffee van has created three full-time jobs that he otherwise would not have needed due to a drop in tourist numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said his cafe was 75 per cent down on trade in April.
"Being able to get on site at Snowy 2 has meant that we've been able to claw some of that back," he said.
"It's been a real bonus to us to be able to get on site and to be part of the project," he said.
"Everybody needs good coffee," he joked.
Local business owners and industry representatives have been focused on skills training in local schools to ensure a supply of workers for jobs into the future.
Snowy Hydro is a sponsor of The Daily Telegraph's Bush Summit, set to be held from August 31 to September 6.
Originally published as Work opportunities snowballing at Snowy 2.0 construction sites