Coal, gas communities should not be left behind: PM

Australia has a responsibility to coal and gas communities to transition into other industries ahead of power stations closing down, the prime minister says.

As federal parliament debates laws that would set up an agency to manage the energy transition, Anthony Albanese said those that had been reliant on the coal and gas industry should not be left behind.

“If a power station is approaching its scheduled close, we believe government has a responsibility to be there ahead of time, not wait until it’s occurred, to engage with workforces and local businesses,” he told parliament on Wednesday.

“The shift to clean energy, in our regions in particular, this change is the work of a generation, and preparing for what is coming next … has to start right now.”

The laws before parliament would set up a Net-Zero Economy Authority, which would coordinate planning and policy for the transition within communities, as well as support affected workers.

The authority would also coordinate efforts to meet net-zero targets across governments, as well as emission reductions.

Laws had already passed locking in targets of a drop in emissions of 43 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels, as well as reaching net-zero by 2050.

The prime minister said communities would need to be prepared to meet future challenges.

“This is about making sure that no community is held back from the new jobs and opportunities of the global shift to clean energy that we are seeing,” he said.

“But it’s also about making sure that no community is left behind by economic change.”


Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)


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