Merri-bek residents call for Peter Khalil to advocate for a National Energy Transition Authority

March 29, 2023 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

Climate Action Merribek is one of 70 organisations supporting a Unions Australia submission to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to establish a National Energy Transition Authority in this years budget.

Looking at energy transitions overseas and locally, it is clear that workers and local communities fair best when transition plans are drawn up particular for regional circumstances and co-ordinated between business and all levels of government, with buy-in and engagement by workers and local communities. Here in Victoria the State Labor Government established the La Trobe Valley Authority to help with the energy transition.

Climate Action Merribek has supported just transition for workers and communities facing the phaseout of fossil fuel energy and rise of clean energy.

On April 5th members of Climate Action Merribek presented the submission with a covering letter to the office of Peter Khalil. We called on Wills MP Peter Khalil to support this initiative by Unions Australia, to lobby in caucus for the establishment of a National Energy Transition Authority, and to keep us informed of his advocacy.

We, the undersigned, are united in our commitment to ensuring that the net zero transition is also a just transition, in which the manifold risks and benefits are shared equally across Australian society.

In 2022, Australia became a signatory to the United Nations Just Transition Declaration, first adopted at COP26 in Glasgow. Signatory countries commit to ensuring workers and communities—especially in “sectors, cities, and regions relying on carbon-intensive industries and production”—are supported as they transition to a clean energy economy. Now is the time for Australia to make good on that commitment by establishing a national Energy Transition Authority.

The stakes are high. Without effective federal planning, coordination, and leadership on this issue, Australia will undergo an unjust transition, in which the costs are concentrated in Australia’s traditional energy regions, causing economic stagnation and social upheavals that hurt workers, regional businesses, and communities—and ultimately slow the progress of the clean energy transition.

…We are calling for the establishment of a national Energy Transition Authority with dedicated funding and a long-term mandate. A national Authority with tripartite governance is vital to ensuring the level of coordination, durability, and leadership necessary to shepherd a genuinely just transition over several decades. The Authority would play three primary roles:

  • Worker Support: develop and administer comprehensive labour adjustment packages and policies to guarantee all workers affected by the transition have access to quality, secure, and safe jobs in new industries, retirement and early retirement packages, or income replacement when the former options are not possible.
  • Regional Economic Diversification: support regional transition bodies to develop and fund robust and iterative economic diversification plans driven by diverse local stakeholders, while using federal incentives and investments to drive new opportunities, particularly clean energy industries, into transitioning regions.
  • Education and Training: collaborate with Jobs and Skills Australia and the relevant Jobs and Skills Councils to develop new education and training packages, and support new educational institutions as needed, to meet the workforce demands of new industries established in energy regions.

Read the full submission letter at Unions Australia (PDF)

Turning Fear of the Future into Optimism

Michele O’Neil, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, appeared at the National Press Club of Australia on “Good jobs and thriving communities: The missing piece of Australia’s energy transition” on 28 March. Read the Transcript of O’Neil’s National Press Club speech.

Entry filed under: coal closures, gas transition, Just Transition, news, Policy. Tags: , , .

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