The CPRS legislation is critical both for the environment and for the creation of sustainable jobs for working Australians in a competitive economy, and must be passed as soon as possible, says the ACTU and unions.

“The settlement between the Rudd Government and the opposition has sadly been driven by business self-interest in many areas, however the basic architecture to drive carbon abatement remains intact,” said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

“The CPRS, combined with the Renewable Energy Target, will now create a framework of climate laws to begin the transition to a lower-carbon economy.”

The ACTU says unions have and will continue to campaign for thousands of clean energy jobs in emerging and existing industries.

“Likewise we will continue to push for jobs in carbon intensive industries to be protected by ensuring that companies make a genuine effort to modernize their processes to remain globally competitive.

“Further, we will champion policies to ensure Australia’s manufacturing and services industries are leaders at home and internationally in the rapidly growing clean-tech, green products market, now worth A$6.1 trillion,” said the ACTU President.

Australia still has a great deal more work to do in areas such as energy efficiency, private and public transport, research and development, skills training and re-training, and international climate finance, said Ms Burrow

“The dinosaurs in the Liberal and National parties must not be allowed to hold Australia back on any of these fronts.  Now we are finally moving forward, we cannot afford to waste any more time.”