UnionsACT disappointed by climate strategy

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FOLLOWING the release of the ACT government’s Climate Strategy, the UnionsACT says it’s disappointed by the just transition strategy. 

UnionsACT says the “ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-2025″, which was released today (September 16), has not integrated any Just Transition principles, which is a framework developed by the trade union movement to encompass a range of social interventions needed to secure workers’ rights and livelihoods when economies are shifting to sustainable production.

“The strategy includes a short section in the strategy entitled ‘just transition’, which unfortunately is just window-dressing,” says UnionsACT secretary Alex White.

Alex White
UnionsACT secretary Alex White.

He says the short Just Transition section in the new Climate Strategy does not detail any actual Just Transition principles, and appears to be merely a box-ticking exercise.

UnionsACT says a Just Transition approach to climate policy should include the following elements:

  • Equitable sharing of responsibilities and fair distribution of the costs across society;
  • Institutionalised formal consultations with relevant stakeholders including trade unions, employers and communities, at national, regional and sectoral levels;
  • The promotion of clean job opportunities and the greening of existing jobs and industries through public and private investment in low carbon development strategies and technologies in all nations;
  • Formal education, training, retraining, and life-long learning for working people, their families, and their communities;
  • Organised economic and employment diversification policies within sectors and communities at risk;
  • Social protection measures (active labour market policies, access to health services, social insurances, among others); and
  • Respect for, and protection, of human and labour rights.

When announcing the news of the strategy and plan, the ACT government says it’s now the first Australian state or territory government to commit to developing a plan for achieving zero emissions from gas use by 2045, making sure all new government buildings and schools are all-electric and transitioning to a zero emissions bus fleet by 2040.

The government also says the strategy will investigate applying a social cost of carbon in procurement and capital works, meet emission reduction targets without the purchase of offsets, develop a pathway to zero emission hospitals and transition to a zero emissions government passenger vehicle fleet.

Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury

Climate Change Minister Shane Rattenbury says key initiatives in the strategy and plan include:

  • A 30 per cent urban tree canopy target and 30 per cent surface permeability target for the ACT
  • Transitioning more Canberra homes and businesses away from gas (a polluting fossil fuel) to electricity (soon to be 100 per cent renewable)
  • Increasing use of sustainable transport including walking, cycling, public transport and zero emissions vehicles
  • Introducing minimum energy performance requirements for rental properties
  • Introducing a City Cooling Program in high priority locations
  • Introducing a household food and garden waste collection service and improve organic waste treatment
  • Removing the requirement for gas in new suburbs
  • Supporting households to reduce energy costs through additional energy efficiency improvements
  • Continuing to encourage the transition to electric vehicles such as electric cars, scooters, bikes, buses and trucks
  • Encouraging new zero carbon businesses through training, education and incentives to support upgrades to energy efficient electric appliances and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles
  • Connecting with industry to support employees affected by new technologies and encourage emerging, sustainable industries
  • Reducing emissions in ACT government operations including through shifting to high efficiency, all-electric, climate-wise buildings and facilities, and transitioning to electric buses
  • Supporting cross-sector collaboration and corporate action to manage the risks from climate change to homes, businesses, species and ecological communities

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