ETU fights for members’ rights at the ALP National Conference

This month delegates from the ETU travelled to Brisbane to participate in the Australian Labor Party (ALP) National Conference. The conference is where the ALP decide on the Party’s Platform, which outlines the Party’s beliefs, values and program for government. The Platform document outlines the key priorities for Labor over the coming years, and is voted on by members as part of a democratic process. It’s a great place for the ETU to advocate for better policies that will improve the lives of electrical workers, their families and their communities.  

The ETU secured several major wins in the Platform decided at last week’s ALP National Conference including:

Major renewable energy investments with good jobs and skills

A commitment to investing 2-3% of GDP (AUD $54-78B/ $35-51bn USD) towards the transformation of Australia’s economy towards renewable energy, clean industry, and good quality union jobs. The final Statement in Detail also binds the party to:

  • Prioritise use of local workers and locally produced inputs in government funded projects.
  • Support and facilitate the expansion of public ownership in critical industries.
  • Assist households to save on energy with efficient appliances and cheap electricity.
  • Revitalise VET to make highly skilled opportunities more accessible.
  • Deploy new industries strategically to support transitioning energy workers.

Secure jobs, good wages, training and standards in new energy projects

The ETU successfully passed a resolution calling for the development of New Energy Best Practice Principles which are to be applied to all new energy generation, transmission, and storage projects that require government funding or regulatory approvals. These principles call for high standards on:

  • safety
  • skills, training, and apprenticeships
  • local procurement
  • wages and conditions
  • secure employment
  • First Nations engagement and opportunities
  • use and treatment of migrant labour

The Party must also consider the above points before assessing financial considerations during tender processes.

Supporting unionism

Maximising the creation of union jobs was a key consideration of union conference attendees throughout negotiations.

The ETU was able to secure several amendments to the Platform to explicitly support the right to organise, encouraging all workers to join their union, and committing to tripartite engagement with unions on developing government policy.

Creating a fairer superannuation system

Rank-and-file ETU women successfully raised a motion pushing for changes to Australia’s superannuation system to be more equitable. The Resolution called for the Party to commit to improving the equity of the superannuation system and consider how linking concession caps to existing total balances may create better outcomes for those who have less super, especially for women and first-generation Australians.

This article was publised on 30 August 2023.