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We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
What do you mean, 'Closing the Loopholes'?

Victorian election result, offshore wind, Gladstone economic transition: the latest just transition news

In this edition we report on the Victorian election, developments in offshore wind, profiteering in the energy market and more.


Apheda - climate justice starts with workers appeal

Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA is working with partner organisations in Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines and India to address climate change as a workplace issue. Please give generously to help those on the frontline of the climate crisis at: 

Victorian election outcome

The Victorian ALP went to the recent state election with extensive new climate and energy commitments. These were no doubt a significant contributor to the government’s extraordinarily successful election result. In summary, the Labor Government has committed to:

  • Re-establishing the State Electricity Commission (SEC) to put renewable energy back in public hands, starting with 4.5 gigawatts of clean energy within a decade 
  • Close all coal-fired power stations by 2035
  • 95% renewable energy by 2035 
  • A target to reduce carbon pollution by 75-80% by 2035 
  • Building up to nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2040 
  • At least 2.6 GW of energy storage capacity by 2030; at least 6.3 GW by 2035.

Victorian unions are particularly excited about the re-establishment of the SEC. The government has acknowledged that Jeff Kennett’s privatisation of Victoria’s energy assets was a disaster. The new SEC will go some way to reversing the damage, and is enormously significant in changing the discourse around the role of government in the energy transition, and, hopefully, putting an end to the failed ideological project of privatisation. The revived SEC also comes with a big commitment to apprenticeships. The development of a power system workforce was one of the real achievements of the old SEC that was destroyed by Kennett (along with its renewable energy development facility). Building back a publicly-driven apprenticeship system will be vital to ensure we have the trained workforce to make the energy transformation successful.

Offshore wind latest announcement

Having targets for renewable energy generation is important; implementing them is the crucial part.

That’s why it was very exciting to see the Federal and Victorian Governments uniting to announce new offshore wind development zones off the Gippsland coast.

An interactive map of the declared area has been released:

In the wake of the announcement, Star of the South was given Major Project status, important to ensure that its generation capacity is built in time for the closure of Yallourn power station.

Gladstone Economic Transition Roadmap

A great indicator of the way that climate and energy policy is shifting since the departure of the action-blocking LNP Morrison Government is the release of the Gladstone Region Economic Transition Roadmap 2022-32

As the Gladstone Regional Council says on its website:

In an Australian first, Gladstone Regional Council has launched its 10-year economic transition roadmap to support and guide the region to becoming a renewable energy superpower.

The roadmap will see this community in prime position to respond to once-in-a-generation changes in the energy sector.

Developed in partnership with regional economic development agency, The Next Economy, the detailed plan is a result of two years of research and extensive engagement involving 220 community, government and industry stakeholders.

Carbon in the built environment

MECLA has released a discussion paper on upfront carbon standards, measurement methods, benchmarking and
resources for construction materials, buildings and infrastructure. 

Clive Palmer loses again

In an historic ruling on Friday, a Queensland court has said the massive Clive Palmer-owned Galilee Basin coal project should not go ahead because of its contribution to climate change, its environmental impacts, and because it would erode human rights. 

Private profiteering in the energy market

The Federal Government recently implemented price controls and other measures to rein in the war profiteering of power companies. One aspect of the inflation in electricity prices that wasn’t widely reported was the way the regulatory rules establishing the National Electricity Market are written to favour private investors, and drive up costs for users - read more here. This is a good reminder that the so-called energy market is really a means of ensuring private profiteering from energy generation, transmission and distribution rather than a way to ensure energy is treated as a public good for the benefit of all.

Climate change for unionists course

The Australian Trade Union Institute Climate change for unionists training course will run again in 2023 with the first course scheduled for 7-8 March. We encourage you to share with unionists who might be interested in joining us for this useful course.