ETU encouraged by signs Australia’s crippling energy and climate policy chaos will end

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday, 22 November 2018

The Electrical Trades Union of Australia welcomes the Labor Party’s energy policy announcement and a future Shorten Government’s commitment to assisting working families and their communities through a just transition in the energy industry.

By announcing its intention to adopt the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) framework with meaningful emissions reduction targets and set-up a Just Transition Authority (JTA) as part of its energy and climate policy announcement, Labor shows that the past five years of crippling energy policy chaos will end if voters decide to get rid of the Morrison Liberal Government at the next election.

ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks said there was much to like about the announcement but there is more work to do to fix the damage caused by privatisation and the inept regulation of the National Energy Market (NEM).

“Whilst we recognise the ALP is tackling key priorities in the industry there are further measures needed over and above what’s been announced,” Mr Hicks said.

“Report after report points to the utter failure of privatisation and the current NEM, under which electricity bills continue to soar.

“The ALP’s announcement will go a long way to improving the energy industry from the perspective of jobs, emissions and costs, but the ETU will continue to campaign to see our electrical networks returned to full public ownership, and for a complete overhaul of the regulators who have failed to hold private energy companies to account.”

The ETU also welcomes Labor’s commitment to delivering a NEG with meaningful emissions reductions targets and significant investment in new technology and training but cautioned that ensuring workers’ safety and Australian standards were maintained throughout the renewable energy boom must be a priority.

“We look forward to engaging with the ALP to ensure these initiatives maximise employment and training opportunities, particularly in regional communities where much of this work will occur,” Mr Hicks said.

“Australia’s renewables sector has been riddled with poor employment practices, exploited foreign labour, sham labour hire companies and close to zero apprenticeship opportunities.

“Today’s policy announcement sets the right course for resolving these issues and the ETU will be watching to ensure they are addressed.

“We believe if Labor holds to this investment strategy policy, it will go far in supercharging Australia as renewable energy leader. If delivered properly, by licenced electricians, the public can be confident it will be done safely and will deliver good job opportunities into the future.”

Mr Hicks was thankful that a future Shorten Government was committed to establishing the JTA in order to assist members in the coal-fired power sector to adjust to life and work after fossil fuels.

“While the Liberals and Nationals have focussed on stupid political stunts like taking lumps of coal into parliament, ETU members were meeting with members of parliament who were prepared to hear about their concerns regarding what happens to their jobs and communities in the transition to renewable energy,” he said.

“We credit the ALP for genuinely listening to our members and making the commitment to deliver a comprehensive, fair and just transition for these communities.

“We know the JTA will benefit Australia’s energy sector and the ETU calls on the Morrison Government to support this important initiative.”

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, [email protected]

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