Australia could become a world leader in creating green industries generating up to a million green collar jobs by 2030 and multi-billion dollar export opportunities in green technology, according to a new report released today by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“Australia is well placed to lead an economic renewal based around clean industries and green jobs,” says ACF Executive Director Don Henry.
The Green Gold Rush: How ambitious environmental policy can make Australia a leader in the global race for green jobs report says Australia is extremely well-positioned to capitalise in six key industries but will need to act quickly to compete with countries such as Germany and Denmark which are already greening their workforces and dominating the international green market in solar and wind technology.
“This is no time for a go slow approach. The report shows Australia must act swiftly to make the most of its natural advantages or our economy will be left behind. We can’t win the race by starting last,” says ACTU President Sharan Burrow.
She says government policy settings and private investment are needed immediately to reach a target of nearly a million green jobs by 2030. Based on an analysis of 30 green industries globally, the report says Australia should focus on six sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water industries, biomaterials, green buildings and waste recycling.
“By establishing a strong domestic market in these sectors, Australia will also develop the skills and expertise necessary to compete in the international green energy market which is currently worth $US1.4 trillion dollars. We can’t afford to miss the boat,” says Ms Burrow.
The ACTU and ACF believe the confluence of the climate and credit crises presents a remarkable opportunity for Australia to get a foothold in green industries.
“It’s up to government to lead the way with a strong 2020 target to cut greenhouse emissions and ambitious environmental policies to drive investment in green industries like solar and wind energy and green infrastructure, such as new railways,” says Mr Henry.