Danish wind farm builder Vestas will use overseas labour to erect the 56 turbine towers at the Musselroe Wind Farm in the job-hungry north-east of Tasmania.
But project manager Hydro Tasmania says 80 per cent of the total construction workforce will still be local as the $400 million project heads towards completion in July next year.
Unions Tasmania says it has also been told an interstate firm has won the contract to carry out high-end electrical work.
Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins said Vestas was looking to bring in workers, mainly from Ireland, on 457 and 417 visas to carry out tower erection works.
Energy Minister Bryan Green said only five or six specialised workers – who had worked for Vestas in Australia previously – would be employed at Musselroe.
There are already more than 150 workers on the Cape Portland site and Hydro Tasmania says about 130 are local.
Tasmanian company Hazell Bros is carrying out civil works and Launceston-based Haywards is providing the turbine towers.
Hydro Tasmania said all project contractors were encouraged to hire local people but specialist skills would sometimes be needed.
Hydro Tasmania CEO Roy Adair said local workers were anticipated to outnumber interstate labour five to one over the life of the project.
Mr Adair said the company would provide information about recruitment opportunities to relevant unions to ensure locals heard about job openings.
Mr Green said Mr Harkins’ criticism was misleading.
“It is only when contractors need specialist skills or equipment not available in Tasmania that labour from elsewhere will be sought,” he said.
Mr Green said 30 local companies were benefiting from work and services need during the construction phase.
Mr Harkins said Tasmanian workers were more than capable of constructing this wind farm.
The Musselroe Wind Farm will provide enough power to provide electricity to 50,000 homes.
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