The ACTU calls on the Albanese Government to quickly establish a national Energy Transition Authority tasked with ensuring that workers and their communities affected by the move to net zero emissions are fully supported, in a paper released today ahead of the Jobs Summit.

The report, ‘Secure Jobs for a Safer Climate’, shows how Australia’s energy transition has been chaotic to date. Twelve coal-fired power stations have closed in the past decade, in most cases leaving workers and communities devastated.

Yet with proper support, those workers can be the first in line to benefit from Australia becoming a renewable energy superpower, generating 395,000 secure and well-paid jobs and $89 billion in revenue by 2040 in export industries alone.

But as the report makes clear, this won’t happen without clear national leadership and a voice for workers at the table.

To realise this, the report recommends that the Albanese Government:

  1. Establish an independent and properly resourced national Energy Transition Authority to manage an orderly and fair transition process for affected workers – including supports for redeployment, skills and training, and secure jobs opportunities
  2. Develop a national renewables strategy, ensuring Australia becomes a renewable energy superpower with local industries, supply chains and good unionised jobs
  3. Build a national disaster response capability that seeks to mitigate, prepare for, respond, and recover from extreme weather events
  4. Take a leading role in developing climate mitigation and adaption policies and programs
  5. Ensure that industries and households have access to reliable and affordable energy
  6. Reach a net-zero emissions public service by 2030, with full engagement of workers.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil: 

“A national Energy Transition Authority will ensure that we don’t have to choose between climate action and good, secure jobs. Through support for skills and training, redeployment, and secure jobs in new industries we can ensure no worker or region is left behind.

“Australia is the best placed country in the world to be a renewable energy superpower, generating 395,000 jobs and $89 billion in revenue by 2040. We can get there by unions, government, business, and climate organisations working together.   

“Climate change is already with us, with workers across all industries suffering the health impacts of extreme heat and climate related disasters, while dealing with the rising cost of living due to crop and land degradation – there needs to be a mitigation and adaptation plan from the government.

“Workers lost jobs, opportunities were ignored, and Australia became a climate laggard after years of climate inaction and chaos from the Coalition Government. Now we must make up for lost time, work together and plan ahead.

“We look forward to working with government, industry and civil society at the Jobs Summit and beyond to deliver this.”