MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA
NATIONAL ASSISTANT SECRETARY
5 MAY 2023
MUA welcomes National Energy Transition Authority
The Maritime Union of Australia welcomes the Albanese Labor Government’s announcement today of a new National Net Zero Authority to support workers employed in all emissions-intensive industries, including many maritime workers, and to deliver a just transition to a net zero emissions economy.
The ACTU also welcomed the move, stating, "the new Authority will help maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of Australia’s energy transition, driving the creation of good jobs in new industries and ensuring no worker or community is left behind".
The major announcement from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Treasurer Jim Chalmers, and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen was outlined by Minister Bowen today outside the Liddell Power Station in Muswellbrook, NSW – the latest coal-fired power station to shut its doors as more and more of Australia's domestic and industrial energy needs are met by renewable sources such as wind and solar energy.
It also comes at a time of great change in the offshore energy sector, as offshore wind turbine projects are announced and progressed in places like Newcastle and Gippsland, Victoria.
The Maritime Union and its membership have taken a leadership role at all stages of the build-up to this announcement, and have campaigned during almost ten years of Liberal Government for renewable energy jobs that are now finally becoming a reality under a Labor Government.
ACTU President Michele O'Neil alongside MUA Newcastle tugboat worker Luke Murray briefing parliamentarians in March 2023 about the importance of clean energy jobs in places like the Hunter.
"Our union is relieved that finally action is taking place to lock in new jobs and long-term employment prospects for workers employed in the coal and hydrocarbon industries," said National Assistant Secretary, Adrian Evans.
"The new Net Zero Authority will provide workers in all sectors, with wide skill sets and specialist experience, the chance to retrain and redeploy in the renewable energy sector," he said. "This is a reassuring and important measure for the maritime workers who built the offshore oil and gas infrastructure that is now being decommissioned. We look forward to now turning our skills and experience towards building and maintaining clean energy infrastructure," Mr Evans said.
The Government's announcement ensures that workers in emissions-intensive industries impacted on the road to net zero will be fully supported with individualised worker transition plans and access to quality, secure and safe jobs in new industries.
The new Authority will also spur new opportunities – particularly in Australia’s energy regions – by creating new jobs, facilitating investment, developing new industries, and supporting place-based economic diversification.
This will ensure the communities that have been keeping the lights on in Australia for generations can build on that proud legacy by helping power the nation’s transition to a net zero future.
The Government announced it would legislate the Authority, but with work beginning almost immediately through the establishment of an Executive Agency to be set up on 1 July 2023.
This victory marks the culmination of more than a decade of campaigning from the union movement, with unions representing coal-fired power workers leading the charge and building support across community, business, investors and climate organisations.