Union movement calls for an Energy Transition Authority to be included in May Federal Budget

This week a historic address by President Michele O’Neil of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to the National Press Club called for a National Energy Transition Authority (ETA) to be delivered in the Federal Budget in May this year.

An ETA would coordinate across governments, departments, industry and communities to make sure no worker or community is left behind in the nation’s energy transition to net zero. 11 Coal fired power stations have closed in the past decade with an average notice period of just 4 months, leaving workers and communities devastated. This has to stop.

An authority would have real regulatory power to make sure everyone is playing their part in the energy transition. Businesses and governments have for too long simply paid lip service to a Just Transition for workers without following through. 

Our highly skilled workers and their communities in the fossil fuel industries have powered our country to become what it is today, and now they need certainty from the government and the energy sector to plan for their futures. An ETA would support workers through comprehensive packages that include education, training, pooled redundancy and employment schemes, income replacement and retirement plans. 

An ETA would also fund and coordinate regional economic diversification programs with good, secure jobs in new and emerging industries. It would plan for infrastructure, training and other requirements that make a ‘Just Transition’ a reality. 

Work has already begun on planning the transition, but that planning needs funding, support and coordination from the federal government to turn it into a reality. 

The call to establish an ETA is backed by the ETU and 70 prominent business peak bodies, unions, investors and climate organisations. 

Add your name to our campaign for an ETA in the May Budget.

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This article was publised on 31 March 2023.