A Shorten Labor Government will support Hunter and Lake Macquarie workers as Australia’s energy mix changes, helping them to plan for the future and take advantage of the tens of thousands of jobs available in renewable energy.
Coal will continue to be part of our energy mix into the future, and coal mining will continue to be an important industry for the Australian economy.
A number of ageing coal-fired power stations will reach the end of their technical life in the coming years – 75 per cent of coal-fired power stations are already operating beyond their original design life.
In fact the Australian Energy Market Operator has projected that all four Hunter power stations will close in the next 17 years. It’s important that the workers impacted by these closures are given the opportunity of a new job in the power sector. Labor will implement a Just Transition policy to ensure that no worker will be left behind.
It’s impossible for ageing coal-fired power stations to stay open forever. And it’s irresponsible to pretend otherwise. Australia must have a plan to help workers and communities respond to future closures.
- Ensure any closures are managed to minimise community impacts – Labor will establish an independent Just Transition Authority to help plan for and coordinate the response to the eventual closure of coal-fired power stations in the future. The Authority will oversee pooled redundancy schemes and economic diversification plans in impacted regions. Labor will also require all large generators to provide at least three years notice of closure. The Authority will have a cost of $8.5 million over the forward estimates.
- Make sure displaced workers are first in line for new jobs – Labor will make it mandatory for power stations and coal mines to participate in pooled redundancy schemes – to help ensure every worker impacted by a closure is provided an offer of employment at a nearby power station or coal mine, subject to enough positions being created.
- Take a proactive approach to economic diversification for impacted regions and communities, guided by the work of the Just Transition Authority. The size and detail of the policies will be developed in government and tailored to individual regions’ characteristics.
- Train workers in the skills they need – Labor will commit $10 million to a Clean Energy Training Fund to train workers in clean energy industries, from solar and battery installers, to energy management system professionals. Labor will work with TAFEs, RTOs, unions, and industry, to make sure workers have the skills they need to benefit from Labor’s Plan for More Renewables and Cheaper Power.
It is critical that the long term planning and coordination work is undertaken as soon as possible – to provide new economic opportunities for impacted workers and communities. That’s why Labor will get started on our plan as soon as we are elected.
In contrast, the Liberals have consistently failed to provide support for workers and communities impacted by economic transition – the communities of Hazelwood and Northern power station workers were supported by state Labor Governments after plant closures but ignored by the Federal Liberal Government.
Renewables are good for power prices and good for the environment, but they are also good for jobs and the economy.
Modelling released by the Australia Institute estimates that Labor’s Plan for More Renewable Energy and Cheaper Power will generate up to 70,000 jobs by 2030. Labor will work to ensure that these are well-paid, secure jobs.
Labor’s plan will ensure communities like ours impacted by inevitable coal-fired power station closures aren’t left behind in this transition. Unlike the Liberals who have a track record of abandoning communities when a coal-fired power station closes, Labor will support local workers and build stronger local economies when they are needed most.
Fact sheet: Labor’s Plan for a Just Transition