Greens Upper House candidate John Kaye said the Iemma government’s failure to develop a plan for the Hunter to make the transition from coal to renewables would cost the region at least 25,000 jobs over the next decade.
Speaking while campaigning in Newcastle today with local Greens candidates Michael Osborne, Suzanne Pritchard, and Sue Wynn, Dr Kaye said, “Between the mid 1980s and 2004, the coal industry shed 18,000 jobs largely because of technological changes.
“The long term future for employment in the coal industry is bleak. Increased mechanisation will reduce the number of employees required per tonne of coal and the world will begin to move away from coal in response to the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The good news is that there are lots of high quality jobs in renewable energy. Generating a unit of energy from wind power creates about four times the number of jobs as coal.
“Our conservative estimate, based on experience in other countries where governments have taken responsibility to ensure a planned transition from coal to renewables, is that the Hunter could host 25,000 additional jobs over the next 10 years.
“But it would take the right sort of government investment and policies, targeted at developing vibrant renewable energy manufacturing industries. The problem is that both Labor and the Coalition cannot see beyond the coal industry,” Dr Kaye said.
Greens Councillor and Newcastle candidate, Michael Osborne said: “The IPCC report released last week was yet another wake up call to the state government. The Hunter already has unacceptable levels of youth unemployment. We need to plan beyond the next twelve months and into a world that responds to global warming by moving away from fossil fuels.
“Building industries that manufacture the technologies that the world will be crying out for is a sensible move. But this will only happen if the NSW government backs clean energy options.
“Coal is under our feet everywhere in this electorate, many of us live with the impacts of subsidence in our communities and dust in the air. Moving to a renewable energy industry that creates jobs instead of big holes and environmental devastation would be a much better long term future for this area” Ms Pritchard said
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455; Michael Osborne 0439 442 984; Suzanne Pritchard 0438 596 741