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Michele O'Neil

President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Good jobs and thriving communities: The missing piece of Australia’s energy transition

Tuesday, 28 March 2023

The National Press Club of Australia

Michele O'Neil, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, will Address the National Press Club of Australia on "Good jobs and thriving communities: The missing piece of Australia’s energy transition". 

"Australia’s transition to net zero emissions presents us with an opportunity to rival any in our nation’s history.

Decarbonising our economy should create hundreds of thousands of good jobs, healthier and more equitable communities, and a renewed national prosperity, while safeguarding Australians from spiralling climate crises.

To seize this opportunity, Australia must build an economy that restores, rather than degrades, the planet on which it relies

But in the race to repower our economy, what happens to those workers and communities who have powered it for the past 150 years?

We’ve had too many federal elections in which the future of these workers has been weaponised. 

False promises were made. Coal was waved about in our Parliament. One of our politicians even played dress-ups, reducing this urgent issue to absurd political theatre. All of this to gain electoral advantage, rather than face up to the real challenge of climate change and the industrial revolution required to meet it.  

This has left a critical element missing from our national response: how to truly support those workers, families and communities most immediately and directly affected by decarbonisation.

In 2023, with a Federal Government that actually believes in climate change and is committed to net zero emissions, Australia can take stock and look around the world for the best (and worst) examples of what can happen in the communities that bear the brunt of the energy transition.

There is so much to gain if Australia gets this right, and so much to lose if workers are left behind. 

In this speech, ACTU President Michele O’Neil will argue the case for the Federal Government to establish an independent National Energy Transition Authority in the upcoming budget in order to deliver a Just Transition: good jobs, thriving communities and a hopeful future for the planet." 

* Blurb provided by ACTU *

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