Securing A Just Transition For Energy Workers

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Labor is committed to a Just Transition for the workers and communities who are affected by these closures.

Australia must deal with the inevitable closure of ageing coal fired power stations, with 75 per cent of coal-fired power stations in Australia currently operating beyond their original design life. These closures will create major structural adjustment challenges concentrated in specific regions and communities, including the Hunter, Latrobe Valley, central Queensland and Collie River Valley.

Labor is committed to a Just Transition for the workers and communities who are affected by these closures.

The Liberals have consistently failed to provide support for workers and communities that are impacted by structural economic transition. They argued against the inclusion of a Just Transition clause in the Paris Agreement and failed to provide support to Hazelwood and Northern power station workers after plant closures.

A Shorten Labor Government will implement a comprehensive plan for a Just Transition and will ensure no affected worker is left behind. Labor will:

  • Establish an independent Just Transition Authority (JTA) to plan and coordinate the structural adjustment response to future station closures. The JTA will be a statutory authority within the Climate Change and Energy portfolio, and will work with energy stakeholders (companies, workers and unions), local communities, state governments and other Commonwealth departments to:
    • Develop and implement transition plans for affected regions, including economic diversification.
    • Develop and oversee pooled redundancy schemes.
    • Develop and administer labour adjustment packages.
  • The JTA will operate on a tripartite basis ensuring that representatives from the energy industry, unions and local communities have direct input into its operations.
  • Require all large generators to provide at least three years notice of pending closure, as recommended by the Finkel Review and enshrined in an Australian Energy Market Commission rule. Sufficient notice of an impending closure is critical to plan for the economic diversification of a region, replace generation capacity and to maintain energy security.
  • Legislate a regional framework for pooled redundancies. Labor will ensure every displaced worker gets an offer of employment at a nearby power station or coal mine, subject to there being sufficient jobs created by voluntary redundancies at these nearby stations and mines. To ensure no-one is left behind, Labor will make it mandatory for power stations and coal mines to participate in pooled redundancy schemes when there is a nearby closure.
  • Take a proactive approach to economic diversification for impacted regions and communities, guided by the work of the JTA. The size and detail of the policies will be developed in government and tailored to each individual regions’ characteristics, but could include; analysis of regional business competitive advantages, prioritisation of regional infrastructure projects, concessional loans for businesses (including from funds such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation and the Australian Manufacturing Future Fund), and dedicated business advice/improvement programs.

Labor will consult with experts and stakeholders, including communities, industry, unions, and local and state governments, on the implementation of these policies.