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Net Zero Authority in Australia to ensure just transition for workers

17 May, 2023Australian union MEU calls the newly established Net Zero Authority “a game-changer for workers and communities affected by the energy transition”. 

On 5 May, the Australian government announced the establishment of a national Net Zero Authority, based on extensive consultation with workers, unions and community representatives in energy regions already grappling with changes caused by decarbonisation.

The national Net Zero Authority will support workers in emissions-intensive sectors to access new employment, skills and other support as needed, and support energy regions to diversify. 

It means that the future of workers in emissions-intensive facilities facing closure won’t be left up to employer programmes and local jobs markets. The Authority will have powers to support workers into new jobs and to facilitate investment in affected communities to create the good jobs of the future.

The Authority will also coordinate programmes and policies across the Australian government to support regions and communities to attract and take advantage of new clean energy industries and set those industries up for success as well as help investors and companies to engage with net zero transformation opportunities.

IndustriALL affiliate MEU has been campaigning for a transition authority for some years and welcome the establishment.

“We know from looking around the world energy transition can be done well or poorly, with consequent positive or devastating outcomes for energy-dependent regions. With this announcement, Australia is setting out on a path of doing energy transition well,” 

says MEU general president Tony Maher.

“The government has listened and taken action to make sure that workers and communities, who are reliant on emissions-intensive industries, aren’t left to bear the brunt of national efforts to address climate change.”

Says Tony Maher. 

Diana Junquera Curiel, the IndustriALL director for the energy industry and just transition says 

“this is a great example of what can be achieved when workers and unions are part of the Just Transition conversation. We hope that the Authority will help the energy transition in the country to become a real just transition for all.”