Former Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray has stepped out of retirement to take a job with Collie’s newest industry bright spark, International Graphite. The addition of Mr Murray to the team comes as the company took its next big step towards cementing their Collie operations into WA’s future of low-carbon energy supply. International Graphite signed a memorandum of understanding with ZEN Energy to collaborate on renewable power supply by supplying its WA-sourced-and-processed graphite as part of ZEN’s plans to build Australia’s biggest battery in Collie. The non‐binding agreement is expected to lead to binding agreements for the purchase of firmed renewable energy from ZEN Energy by International Graphite for its Collie plant, currently under construction. It comes just weeks after the State Government announced $1 million of funding for a feasibility study into the potential for Collie to host the Collie Battery and Hydrogen Industrial Hub Project. Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns announced the funding commitment at an industry roundtable in Collie on April 1, a planned 600 to 800-megawatt hour battery set to form the centrepiece of the hub project. This battery would be four times bigger than Tesla’s ‘big battery’ in South Australia. Both companies have been supported by the WA Government, which which awarded International Graphite $2m through the Collie Futures Industry Development Fund towards building a graphite micronising plant at Collie, and up to $1m for the first stage of ZEN’s big battery feasibility study, to be headed by renowned Australian economist and energy expert Ross Garnaut through his green-energy think tank, Sunshot Energy. Mr Murray, who held the State’s Labor stronghold seat for nearly 20 years, said the company was at the forefront of the region’s future energy industries. “(International Graphite) is a sensational business because it’s on the front edges of where we are headed,” he said. “Looking at the coal industry fading out, these guys are fading in. Every step forward is a good one.” International Graphite executive chairman Phil Hearse said Mr Murray would help the company maximise value and jobs they can bring to the area. “After 20 years in Parliament, Mick is a champion for the South West. He understands the town and is so well-placed to help us establish our presence here,” Mr Hearse said. “Not only is Mick well credentialled for this role, but he is a character who adds passion to our work environment. We look forward to his advice as to how we can best grow with the Collie community.” The Collie battery would provide renewable energy to the diverse new and existing industrial projects in the Collie shire. The hub project is tipped to create $730m worth of new investment in green industries and decarbonisation initiatives, while creating 500 new jobs during the construction phase, plus an additional 400 ongoing jobs for the region.