Ensuring Australia keeps pace with the global shift to net-zero carbon emissions, and making the most of the vast opportunities presented by that change, will require genuine and far-sighted political leadership.
Analysis from Accenture – released on Thursday in a collaboration between the ACTU, Business Council of Australia, Australian Conservation Foundation and the World Wide Fund for Nature – show that clean energy goods and services could generate 395,000 new jobs and $89 billion in new export trade by 2040.
Importantly, the report shows that job opportunities span far beyond those directly involved in building new wind or solar power stations and networks, with the majority of new jobs identified in renewable hydrogen and ammonia, green metals, critical minerals, battery supply chains, education and training and engineering, ICT and consulting services.
It’s these goods and services that the rest of the world, as it reduces emissions, will have a thirst for. Once again, Australia is best placed to meet changing global demand, with an abundance of the best clean energy resources in the world.
But this future hinges on decisive action in the present; collective action from government, business, unions, environmental groups, and the community.
If, as a nation, we sit by while new, greener industries establish themselves in competitor economies, Australians will miss out on a monumental stampede of investment into new technologies.
This report outlines the five policies we believe are critical to establish Australia as a frontrunner in new and emerging clean energy exports:
- coordinated investment in seven regional precincts that are best placed to produce and handle clean energy exports
- A $10 billion co-investment in new industries
- $5 billion to support workers and regions that are reliant on carbon-intensive industries – with an energy transition authority to bring together government, business and unions to coordinate the process
- a program to support low-carbon procurement for major infrastructure projects, and
- setting targets for hydrogen production and green metals production.