Media Releases | 4th Aug, 2020

Putting jobs-rich climate solutions at the centre of Victoria’s economic recovery from COVID-19

Seven leading climate, environment and renewable energy organisations have joined forces to call for jobs-rich climate solutions to be at the centre of Victoria’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

The Climate Council, Australian Conservation Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Beyond Zero Emissions, Friends of the Earth, Australian Wind Alliance and Environment Victoria developed the paper urging the Victorian government to follow leading international voices calling for governments at all levels to seize the opportunity to scale up decarbonisation efforts while also boosting economic activity in response to the pandemic.

The paper calls on the Victorian government to place climate solutions at the centre of their plans for economic recovery from the pandemic by prioritising the following areas:

 

  • Providing clean, efficient housing for all Australian homes are built to notoriously poor standards, with existing Victorian homes averaging just 1.8 stars. But there are practical steps we can be taking now including boosting on-site renewable energy, energy efficiency upgrades and switching from gas to efficient electric appliances.
  • Creating an efficient, electrified Victorian manufacturing industryAustralian industry is among the most energy inefficient in the world and businesses are currently paying much more for energy than they need to. The Victorian government should heed the call of leading union and industry voices who recognise that renewable energy technologies will drive the future of manufacturing in our country.
  • Building Victoria’s renewable energy gridEnsuring the National Electricity Market (NEM) electricity grid infrastructure and processes are modernised to support a clean, reliable electricity system based on increasing input from variable and distributed renewable energy sources is already a pressing priority. 
  • Turbo-charging Victorian renewable energy generation, supply chains and jobsRenewable energy investment is in danger of slowing down due to dropping wholesale electricity prices and supply chain constraints caused by the pandemic. Fast tracking renewable energy development would have the additional benefit of preparing Victoria for the coming retirement of the state’s pollution-intensive and increasingly unreliable coal power stations.
  • Boosting nature restoration, sustainable agriculture and bushfire recoveryThe health of our land and natural environment underpins Victoria’s prosperity. Meanwhile, the pandemic has taken attention away from the still very recent tragedy of this past summer’s devastating bushfires. The recovery plight of those communities must be remembered, and local habitat restoration and economic activity opportunities are desperately needed. 
  • Investing in sustainable, healthy transportClimate solutions are urgently needed in Victoria’s transport sector because it is the second largest source of emissions in the state and, before COVID19, these emissions continued to grow steadily. There are opportunities to roll out smaller, faster, more distributed upgrades of particular sections of our transport network.

Nicky Ison, WWF-Australia’s Energy Transition Manager, said:

“Victoria is Australia’s manufacturing powerhouse, but our manufacturing businesses are some of the most energy inefficient in the developed world. With a targeted stimulus program, the Victorian Government could improve the efficiency of its manufacturing and accelerate its switch to renewable energy. Doing so would cut energy bills, create thousands of new jobs, reduce pollution and ensure Victoria has resilient local supply chains into the future.”

Amanda McKenzie, Chief Executive, Climate Council, said:

“The Victorian Government has a real opportunity to create thousands of clean jobs that will help the state recover from the economic shock of coronavirus, get Victorians back to work and tackle long-term problems like climate change. Smart, targeted government investment now in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and supporting manufacturers to move away from expensive, polluting gas will help Victoria to bounce back even stronger, and ready to tackle climate challenges.”

Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO, Australian Conservation Foundation, said:

 “We can make this recovery climate and nature positive by setting out a clear pathway to move to net zero climate pollution and regenerate the natural environment our lives depend on. Using recovery funding to make our communities healthier and more resilient will increase the capacity of people, wildlife and nature to respond to future extreme events like bushfires and pandemics.”

 Tony Goodfellow, Victorian Organiser, Australian Wind Alliance, said: 

“Regional Victoria can be the biggest winner from an energy transition that creates well-paying jobs and maximises community benefits from shovel-ready wind and solar projects and longer term transmission projects. Keppel Prince Engineering has shown we can manufacture renewable energy components here in Victoria. Clear government policy could see manufacturing jobs created throughout the state.”

Claudia Gallois, Sustainable Cities campaigner, Friends of the Earth, said:

“As governments turn attention to the COVID19 economic recovery, investing in the public transport network is a good way to create jobs while reducing emissions and making Victoria more resilient. A recovery effort that powers public transport with renewable energy and prioritises domestic manufacturing of trains, trams and buses would have the added benefit of creating jobs throughout the state.”

Jono La Nauze, CEO, Environment Victoria, said: 

Renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport and other sustainable solutions are all proven job creators that are also essential steps in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. These need to form the core of Victoria’s economic recovery. The sooner this happens, the better for our economy and the better for our climate.” 

Download the full paper ‘Putting jobs-rich climate solutions at the centre of Victoria’s economic recovery from COVID-19’ here

For comment

Dr Nicholas Aberle, Environment Victoria Campaign Manager
Mobile: 0402 512 121
[email protected]

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