ETU welcomes Government’s plans to decarbonise the economy, but Australian community must reap the benefits

The ETU welcomes Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s announcement yesterday that the Government will work with industry, the climate movement, experts, unions and the community on plans to decarbonise our economy across seven major sectors.

“After a decade with no energy and climate policy roadmap, where more than a dozen power stations closed with little notice or support for workers and their communities, this is the kind of in-depth planning and coordination Australia desperately needs,” said ETU National Secretary Michael Wright.

For a decade the Liberal National Government refused to even meet with unions, so the ETU welcomes the Albanese Government’s recognition of the unique role that unions play in advocating for major economic reform to flow through to benefit ordinary working Australians and their communities.

However, the Government must take the extra step and mandate the economic and social benefits for everyday Australians made possible by this energy transition.

Everyday tax-paying Australians will fund the huge public investments throughout this transition, and they deserve an economy and an energy system that benefits them at the other end.

“We can no longer afford to leave it up to the whims of private finance whose profits are propped up by taxpayer dollars. Australian workers and the Australian community deserve a much bigger dividend for our investment in the net-zero economy,” said Mr Wright.

The Government must set clear rules around worker protections, regional diversification, investment in skills and training and ensure consumers receive the benefits of cheaper renewable energy by stopping those savings being diverted to corporate super profits.

Further, the Government will need to address the major shortage of electrical workers whose skills are essential to power this transition. A decade of divestment from workforce development and trades training has left us severely under-resourced to build the future we need. This piece of the puzzle cannot be ignored for the net zero economy to become a reality.

Media contact: Eimear O’Sullivan 0419 499 886

This article was publised on 19 July 2023.