New clean energy jobs critical to the future of work, says ACTU

Media Release - June 5, 2024

Unions at ACTU Congress are seeking strong emissions reduction targets as they focus on climate change as the driver of the future of work in Australia.

Climate change is impacting every worker, job, sector and industry. The creation of new clean energy jobs is a critical priority of the Australian union movement as the country transitions to a clean energy economy. 

Unions are calling for a strong 2035 emissions target and a transition to a net zero economy by 2050 so Australia plays a fair role in driving down emissions.

Unions are seeking critical investment to supercharge new and emerging industries through more ambitious climate and industry policies. There is a significant economic opportunity for workers and their communities to benefit from safe, secure, and well-paid jobs.

By positioning Australia to be a clean energy superpower, workers in transitioning industries can be supported, and new jobs created. Development in our regions can be boosted alongside taking cost of living pressures off households and businesses.

Priorities to ensure Australia cuts climate pollution in a way that benefits working people and the economy must include:

  • Investment in clean export and manufacturing industries
  • Investment in rapid electrification and other efficiency measures
  • Building the renewable generation, transmission and storage of electricity
  • Investment in climate adaption measures

Australian unions at Congress will also celebrate the landmark policy wins the movement has achieved in just the past year, such as the creation of the Net Zero Economy Authority and the Future Made in Australia Act, which will be key to support, training and job opportunities for workers.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“Decarbonising our economy can create hundreds of thousands of good secure well-paid jobs. This is our path to healthier communities and a renewed national prosperity, safeguarding Australians from spiralling climate crises.

“The future for a liveable planet is with renewables. To protect the interests of all workers, two things are non-negotiable: that transition happens at the pace required by science, and that it doesn’t leave workers or communities behind.  Change needs to be both fast and fair.

“Australia must seize the natural advantages in our abundant sun wind, and mineral resources to not only compete in, but lead the global race on clean energy and realise our potential as a renewables superpower — with workers front and centre.

“Ensuring change happens with workers, not to workers is critical. Supporting the creation of new quality jobs, the provision of training, skills and redeployment, and delivering the resources workers and communities need are essential.”

The ACTU Network

Australian Unions

Whether you want to join a union, take action in campaigns, or make the most of the benefits of being a union member, Australian Unions is the place to go for information and resources.
Visit Australian Unions

Mind Your Head

We’re taking action to protect workplace mental health.
Visit Mind Your Head


Your rights at work for students and for people entering the workforce for the first time.
Visit Worksite


Information and resources for health and safety representatives and workers about how to speak up at work for health and safety.
Visit OHS

Union Aid Abroad

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is the overseas aid and development agency of the ACTU. Our work aims to build self-reliance through support to educational and training projects for workers and their organisations in the developing world.
Visit Union Aid Abroad

ACTU National Union Directory

Find who you are looking for from the who’s who of the union movement.
Visit the ACTU National Union Dictionary
Australian Council of Trade Unions

Representing Australian workers and their families.