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Green jobs to flow from carbon price: report

This article was published on February 28, 2011, on ABC News (http://www.abc.net.au).

"ELEANOR HALL: One of the key unions representing power workers today welcomed a report which says a price on carbon could lead to more than 30,000 jobs in regional Victoria over the next 20 years. The Climate Institute report says a price on carbon will create new job opportunities in all a range of clean-energy industries.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says it's keen to harness opportunities in the renewable energy sector, as Rachel Carbonell reports.

RACHEL CARBONELL: The Climate Institute report was launched by the independent member for New England, Tony Windsor in Canberra this morning.

The chief executive of the Climate Institute, John Connor says the research shows a carbon price will lead to big growth in renewable energy jobs in Australia particularly in regional areas.

JOHN CONNOR: What we've found is a net growth in the power sector so we have looked at the ups and downs here with this transition, a net growth of some 34,000 jobs nationally so this is an important element.

We'll see numbers of scare campaigns and hypothetical about the drops against business as usual so this shows we can significantly reduce pollution, grow the economy, grow jobs.

RACHEL CARBONELL: He says the research is very detailed.

JOHN CONNOR: This is ground-breaking research which it combines not only modelling, top-down modelling in terms of the clean energy resources and opportunities that are there if we put a price on pollution and also bring on clean energy policies, but we combine that with on-ground research and discussion with business and community leaders about how we make those opportunities and turn them into reality so it is also looking at the skills and industry development policies that we need.

RACHEL CARBONELL: The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has welcomed the report. National secretary Dave Oliver says the industry must be proactive.

DAVE OLIVER: Well, our union has always viewed tackling climate change not only as a threat but an opportunity and you only have to look at the global clean technology sector in the world, is globally worth $6 trillion and that is why we have been keen to see that the government in any policy about tackling climate change ensures that our country is positioned to get in as part of that industry.

So we welcome the reports that clearly show that there are actually jobs in it if we get it right.

RACHEL CARBONELL: But he says it is critical that the Government devises good industry policy and programs to make sure Australia can properly take advantage of the opportunities that will arise from a price on carbon.

DAVE OLIVER: Well we are concerned that the Government has this obsession with a balanced budget and we were very displeased at the Government's decision to wind back green programs particularly the green car innovation fund and that is why we want to be out there seeking the support of the Government to ensure that they are going to invest into these programs.

I mean, President Obama gets it. President Obama's state of the union address, he outlined that he would be investing a multibillion dollar package for America to be part of this industry. He actually called it is Sputnik moment and compared it to the reforms that we saw during the Kennedy area in the space race which transformed their economy and drove innovation for the next 50 years and likewise, America is doing it, Obama gets it, our country and our Government needs to get it in the same way.

ELEANOR HALL: And that is the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary David Oliver, ending that report by Rachel Carbonell. "

Link to the news item: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3150564.htm

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