Queensland has abundant sunshine and wind resources, and taking advantage of these world-class resources with clean energy can create thousands of jobs across our State. The Greens want to transform Australia’s energy system from one of the dirtiest in the world, to one of the best and cleanest by transitioning to at least 90% renewable energy by 2030, and 100% clean energy as quickly as possible. The Greens’ plan to Renew Australia will:
- Build at least 90% renewable by 2030 and ensure our energy efficiency is doubled.
- Establish a new $500 million government authority – RenewAustralia – tasked with planning and driving the transition to clean energy.
- Create a $1 billion Clean Energy Transition Fund to assist coal workers and communities with the transition.
- Implement pollution standards to enable the staged closure of coal fired power stations, starting with Australia’s dirtiest — Hazelwood.
Renew Australia would deliver a 15-year pipeline of clean energy projects through a combination of direct investment and ‘reverse auctions’. Queensland is well-placed to benefit from this long-term investment, with our world-class clean energy resources and skilled workforce.
Building a pollution-free Queensland presents an opportunity to tackle the issues of inequality, unemployment and global warming using the same solutions.
Clean energy and solar cuts reduces power bills for everyone. Additionally, our plan to roll out battery storage for up to 1.2 million homes and 30,000 businesses will help ordinary Australians take back control of their power bills from big energy companies.
The mining and burning of coal is threatening our Great Barrier Reef and the 69,000 jobs it supports by making global warming-caused coral bleaching more likely. The “worst ever” mass bleaching event has this year affected 93% of the Reef. Clean energy will not risk our Reef or the jobs it supports, and won’t require us to sacrifice prime agricultural land to coal and coal seam gas.
The end of coal is fuelling a jobs crisis
Central Queensland is in the middle of a jobs crisis fuelled by the decline of the coal mining industry. Nation-wide, the coal mining industry has already slashed about one third of its workforce since 2012, with more job losses on the way. We have already seen widespread job losses across Queensland:
- In September 2014, 700 jobs cuts were announced at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s coal mines in the Bowen Basin.
- In May 2015, 300 permanent jobs were cut at Glencore’s Collinsville mine.
- In June 2015, 70 jobs were lost at Westfarmers’ Curragh coal mine in central Queensland.
- In July 2015 Peabody announced 300 jobs to be cut at nine Australian coal mines, including six in Queensland.
- In December 2015, a further 180 jobs losses were announced at Glencore’s Collinsville mine when it closes down.
Experts, including Goldman Sachs, Citibank and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, now agree that thermal coal is in “structural decline” meaning that the market and jobs are unlikely to ever recover.
Coal has played an important role in Australia’s economic history, especially for communities in the Bowen Basin, the Hunter Valley and the La Trobe Valley, but we must plan for the future.
It makes sense to act now. With the world moving rapidly towards clean energy, Queensland risks being left behind the global renewables revolution.
A just transition plan for jobs after coal
A transition away from coal and polluting fossil fuels is inevitable, but justice for coal-dependent workers and communities is not. The Greens plan to Renew Australia puts a just transition for workers and communities front and centre.
As part of our Renew Australia plan, the Greens would create a $1 billion Clean Energy Transition Fund to provide jobs in affected communities such as the Bowen Basin in Queensland, and to help workers to retrain.
Queensland and Australia are well-positioned to take advantage of the jobs of the future, but we need a plan and strong leadership from governments to get us there. The Greens have a plan for the future, but the Coalition and Labor parties are shackled to the dirty industries of the past, accepting $3.7 million in donations of dirty fossil fuel companies, and handing out billions in subsidies.