Pacific Islands most vulnerable
Climate Change was on the agenda at the ITF Oceania Seminar in Sydney today with the ITF General Secretary David Cockroft declaring that promotion of public transport was a priority.
"We can talk about hybrid and electric cars but buses are even better", said Cockcroft.
The ITF chief said there had to be a massive change in the way climate change is regulated. "We can't take the risk of not acting. We may be wrong".
Cockcroft felt that the transition to green jobs would be one of the union movement's biggest challenges. "We need to find a way of focusing on existing jobs and ask how we can make those jobs more green. We need more, decent unionised jobs out of the process."
Speaking on a panel MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said that we should not forget that the Pacific islands are among the most vulnerable to Climate Change with rising sea levels threatening to swallow islands and impacts on major food producers like Indonesia.
"We can't be Eurocentric. We need to be organised and speak for the whole of our region. We also have to ask. Do we need someone in Copenhagen representing our interests....Do we have a specific approach for the Conference.". It was clear that the answer for Crumlin is yes.
The CFMEU's General President Tony Maher said that climate change may have begun as an environmental issue but it was now very much a trade and economic one.
"The developed world has created this problem. A lot of it comes down to who pays...I'd be public enemy number 1 (for many of the major miners). There are plenty of scare tactics but we have to look at this in the long term."
Earlier Premier Nathan Rees spoke to the conference emphasising the Government's plan to avoid congestion in the centre of Sydney by planning river cities at Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith.
The three day seminar brings together 80 transport union delegates representing more than 40 unions from Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu, PNG, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Timor Leste.