News | 20th May, 2010

Claims pollution is stopping Valley jobs

Thursday, 20 May 2010
Ebonnie Lord, Latrobe Valley Express

A national report released yesterday shows if governments act now to shift Australia from a ''pollution dependent'' economy it will create 770,000 new jobs across Australia, including 29,680 new jobs in the Gippsland region.

The report `Creating jobs – cutting pollution: The roadmap for a cleaner, stronger economy', was commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Australian Conservation Foundation.

It follows Environment Victoria's report into a plan to replace Hazelwood Power Station, which it says is the dirtiest in Australia.

Foundation economic adviser Simon O'Connor said there would be many more jobs created in the Latrobe Valley if action was taken to transition to a green economy.

''Latrobe Valley is the ideal candidate for securing these jobs as it has the skill base in energy generation as well as the transmission infrastructure already in place to support clean energy generation,'' Mr O'Connor said.

According to the report, based on comprehensive economic modelling in Gippsland there would be 2472 more jobs in services industry, 5370 more jobs in construction, 867 more jobs in manufacturing and 1485 more jobs in agriculture and mining, if strong action was taken.

This involves setting a price on carbon and supporting a transition to cleaner energy generation.

''Australia's government and business leaders face a simple choice: invest and innovate now to secure our long-term future or pay the price in extra economic costs, job losses and an increasingly damaged environment if we don't act,'' the report states.

Gippsland Climate Change Network executive officer Scott Ferraro said the reports showed opportunities for the Latrobe Valley and the rest of Gippsland, which need to be acted upon.

''While the Environment Victoria report may not be the exact solution, it does give us a picture of possible future options for energy supply and energy efficiency programs,'' Mr Ferraro said.

''The reports should be viewed as an opportunity for Gippsland to diversify its economy now, and look to propose projects based upon lower emission and renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.''