TACKLING climate change offers huge job creation opportunities for Australian manufacturing but only with the right government support, says the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union.
Responding to the release of the draft Garnaut Climate Change Review, AMWU National Secretary Dave Oliver said relying on market mechanisms alone to tackle climate change would threaten jobs.
“The Garnaut report makes it clear that we need to act to tackle climate change,”Oliver said.
“But we need to do this in a way that takes advantage of the opportunities to create jobs in renewable industries while supporting workers and communities that will be affected by the transition to a less greenhouse-intensive economy,” he said.
Oliver said even though research shows there are opportunities to generate tens of thousands of jobs in environmentally sustainable industries, it won’t happen without adequate government support and intervention to foster renewable industries.
“At the same time we need clear policy to manage the transition from reliance on fossil-fuel industries to sustainable alternatives.
“As Australia reduces greenhouse emissions, the government must support the coal, aluminium and manufacturing industries who will be affected by supporting, training and re-skilling workers, ensuring a just transition.
“The Rudd government needs to invest the funds generated through emissions trading back into the community with structural adjustments, and investment in manufacturing.
“The priority for that investment should be in communities that are most affected by shifting to a less greenhouse-intensive economy.“Trade exposed industries competing in global markets against countries that do not have carbon prices factored in should also receive support through targeted industry assistance programs.
“We have learnt from the mistake of letting the market forces determine industry and the results have been massive off-shoring and downsizing of jobs.
“We can’t let the same mistakes occur whilst managing climate change. Protecting industry, protecting workers and supporting communities must be our primary objective.”