The Morrison Government’s refusal to take action to address climate change means Australia is at risk of failing to meet even our own insufficient carbon reduction targets and is falling badly behind the pace of action elsewhere globally, as the important United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid commences this week.

The Australian union movement supports decisive action on climate change and knows that leadership and planning is essential for ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon economy for workers.

Emissions have risen steadily since the election of the Coalition in 2013, and the Morrison Government currently has no viable plan to reverse this trend.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“Australian workers on the end of a hose fighting bushfires, treating patients from heat exhaustion in hospitals and manufacturing wind turbine towers know that climate change is a workers issue.

“46 nations are turning up the COP meeting in Madrid with a commitment to developing a national plan for a just transition as part of their Paris Agreement contribution. Australia is not one of them. Australia has no plan to move to zero emissions and no plan to ensure workers and communities participate in and benefit from this transition

“An economy-wide plan to tackle climate change is essential to maintaining and growing jobs and avoiding even higher rates of underemployment, unemployment and youth unemployment than we have already seen under this Government.

“Turning away from action of climate change means leaving working people exposed. We need long-term planning to ensure good quality jobs and fair treatment of working people and their communities.

“Australia is turning up to global climate talks empty-handed. We have no coherent plan to reduce emissions, no plan to deal with climate change impacts that are already harming Australian workers and communities, and no plan to ensure working people benefit from the transition to clean energy.

“Instead of frustrating UN Climate talks the Morrison Government should be sitting down with representatives of workers, business and civil society to develop a whole of economy plan to ensure that Australia is leading and benefiting from action on climate change.”

Detailed briefing available on request.