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Greens to move for energy transition authority in Parliament

The Greens Industry, Transition and Regional Development spokesperson and Gladstone local, Senator Penny Allman-Payne, will give notice of a Bill to establish a National Energy Transition Authority in the next sitting of Parliament.

The announcement comes after climate bill negotiations between the Greens and government, during which the government undertook to consider the Greens’ proposal for a statutory transition authority to support coal and gas communities and give them control over their futures as Australia tackles the climate crisis. 

The Greens were the only party to campaign at the election on a fully costed platform for statutory transition authorities to be established in coal and gas regions, managed by locals, unions and businesses, and funded to grow new industries and secure jobs.

The Bill will: 

  • Establish an independent statutory National Energy Transition Authority tasked with planning and coordinating to facilitate new economic opportunities for workers and communities who are currently involved in fossil fuel production and associated industries.

  • The National Energy Transition Authority will provide policy coordination and planning nationwide to enable regulatory conditions conducive to stable investment by both governments and business in clean energy and supporting infrastructure.

  • The Authority will draw on a Diversifying Coal Communities Fund of $2.8 billion over ten years, which will approve and fund local plans across the nation, developed by regionally based transition bodies in partnership with the National Energy Transition Authority.

Comments attributable to Senator Penny Allman-Payne:

“Everyone knows the phase out of coal is underway so we have to put in place plans and institutions to support the communities that will be affected. This must be on the table at the Jobs and Skills Summit.

“There is so much opportunity for new jobs and industries in the coal regions, we just need to get on with it. Where I live, in Central Queensland, coal and gas workers tell me they know their jobs are on the way out and they’re sick of governments pretending that it isn’t happening. They want some honesty, and they want a plan.

“As we have seen with the Latrobe Valley Authority, a locally led transition with national support can start to get results for coal workers, their families and their communities.

“During negotiations on the climate change legislation the government agreed to consider the Greens’ plans for a transition authority. If the Government and Greens make serious progress on this issue over the next three years, Coalition climate scare campaigns will fall on deaf ears because coal and gas communities will know their future is being planned for and that their children will have a secure future.

“The experience in Europe shows that if you plan the transition, workers can move into new well-paid jobs, be redeployed through industry-wide polling or benefit from early retirement, but it needs leadership from government.”

The Greens’ election policy, Powering Past Coal and Gas, outlined a plan for the transition authority, as well as a ‘Job for Job Guarantee’ wage support plan for coal workers. The ACTU has called for the establishment of a transition authority and although Labor did not propose any policies before the election, it is consistent with the policy platform set by its members, suggesting the Greens’ bill could pass Parliament. 

Reserve Bank modelling of the climate commitments of Australia’s major trading partners, including China, Japan and South Korea, could see our coal exports fall by up to 80%.

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