The Abbott Government's plans to scrap industry support associated with carbon pricing would have a direct impact on jobs growth and bring a wave of workplace innovation to reduce energy use and greenhouse emissions to an abrupt halt the ACTU warned today.
Cutting schemes like the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Clean Technology Program will be a short-sighted blow to Australian businesses that increasingly must operate in global markets where competitors are adapting to low-emission technologies, said ACTU President Ged Kearney.
"We urge the government to look beyond short-term political opportunism and consider the challenges ahead for Australian jobs and industry," said Ms Kearney.
"The world around us is adapting to climate change. It's no longer a question of whether the world will need clean energy but of whether or not Australia will be part of that."
The CEFC is already investing in solar energy projects, wind farms and power generation by capturing the emissions from landfill. The renewable energy sector already employs more than 24,000 people across 370 accredited renewable power generators.
Meanwhile businesses ranging from abattoirs to whitegoods manufacturers have benefited from clean tech funding for measures like overhauling heating and cooling systems and capturing excess methane emissions.
"The kind of innovation we will need to compete in a changing global economy, where a multi-trillion dollar clean technology industry has already emerged, won't simply happen by itself," said Ms Kearney.
"The carbon pricing scheme introduced last year was very carefully designed to drive that investment and innovation.
"Unions worked closely with the previous government to make sure that at the heart of the carbon pricing scheme was a commitment to jobs – the jobs of today as well as the jobs of tomorrow.
"We are urging the Abbott Government not to simply discard the important work that was done but rather continue investing in innovation."
Contact: Ben Ruse 0409 510 879