The Labor Party has pledged to assist workers affected by changes in the electricity generation industry, including reductions in the use of thermal coal.
The new Electricity Modernisation Strategy was revealed at the recent ALP National Conference, a policy which will manage changes in the electricity sector driven by global and domestic issues.
CFMEU National president Tony Maher seconded the resolution on Sunday, welcoming the formalised planning for industry restructure driven by lower manufacturing output, increased energy efficiency and renewable energy growth.
“With thermal electricity plants closing one by one, we need a clear focus on redeploying workers to jobs in the sector, including to remaining plants with continuous vacancies due to their age profile,” Maher said.
The ALP policy would establish a dedicated agency to oversee industry transition for workers requiring redeployment, retraining or income support.
“Retraining and redeployment would require a serious analysis of the vacancies available in the energy and mining sectors, where workers skills are transferrable, combined with government intervention and financial support to help individual workers and regional communities in any transition, Maher said.
“Our mining and energy workers who have fuelled this country’s industrial and economic development deserve more than that and the CFMEU will ensure they get a fair go.
“Today, for the first time, we have a plan to reduce emissions, manage necessary industry restructure, support workers and their communities, while keeping prices down for consumers and businesses.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten used his opening speech at the conference last week to promote a renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030, backed by a national emissions trading scheme.
On Friday Anglo American announced plans to reduce their global workforce, starting with 6000 roles, in order to reduce costs by US$500 million amid floundering commodity prices.