Hydrogen tank in Western Australia
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The Australian Workers Union (AWU) has voiced its support for Australia’s burgeoning hydrogen industry, in a decision reinforced by a new report from the McKell Institute.

The McKell Institute report, First Mover Moment, observes that green hydrogen – which produces hydrogen from water with electrolysis – represents a major export opportunity for Australia.

However, according to the McKell Institute, green hydrogen will not be produced at scale here until “well into the 2030s”.

The report’s release follows the passage of a resolution at the AWU National Conference calling on Australian governments to reject a narrow green-focused hydrogen agenda and instead prioritise the scaling-up of hydrogen this decade – irrespective of type – to maximise the opportunity for the hydrogen export economy.

AWU National Secretary, Daniel Walton, said that while green hydrogen was definitely the future, Australia could not afford to wait until it could be produced on the vast scale required to lay the groundwork for a domestic and export industry.

‘‘There’s nothing wrong with green hydrogen. But it’s also many, many years off being economical. We need to move much faster,” Mr Walton said.

‘‘It will be very easy to transition to green hydrogen when the time is right, but let’s not sit around waiting on a promise while our industries perish around us.’’

With this in mind the AWU National Conference resolved to:

  • Recognise the need for alternative fuels to provide energy and feedstock to Australia’s industries
  • Recognise the global demand for hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel for industry, and Australia’s existing position as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas
  • Call on Australian governments to reject a narrow, green-focused hydrogen agenda, and instead prioritise scaling up hydrogen production this decade, irrespective of type, to maximise the opportunity for a clean hydrogen export economy in the 2030s and beyond
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