Workers for Climate Action stands in solidarity with the workers at Eraring power station and the Lake Macquarie community following the sudden announcement that Origin Energy will shut down the coal-fired plant in 2025 – seven years earlier than planned.
We demand urgent, large-scale public investment in a transition plan for the four hundred workers directly employed by the plant and the broader community. This should include retraining, job guarantees and new publicly-owned energy infrastructure and manufacturing capacity in the region, allowing the Lake Macquarie community to take advantage of opportunities in the transition to renewable energy.
The Morrison government has postured for years as a defender of fossil fuel workers, disgracefully counter-posing the need for urgent climate action to the real need for secure jobs in coal mining regions such as the Hunter. Both the state and federal governments have ignored consistent calls from the Hunter community for a proper statutory authority to coordinate a transition to renewable energy, green hydrogen production and other sustainable industries.
Origin’s announcement highlights that a transition to renewable energy is well underway. But with all major investment decisions being made by the private market and a lack of any serious government planning, this transition will be too slow to stop climate catastrophe, too chaotic to ensure reliable power supply and provide no justice or opportunity for the fossil fuel communities who have worked hard for generations to provide Australia with power.
Morrison has shown a willingness to make large-scale public energy investments, pledging at least $600 million for a new gas-fired power station at Kurri Kurri. But this project is not about the public good – it’s a gift for his mates in the gas business, designed to prop up fossil fuel industry profits when the planet can not afford any new gas infrastructure. The Kurri Kurri project should be cancelled and the funds diverted to a serious transition plan for existing fossil fuel workers such as those at Eraring.
The upcoming March 25 climate strike is calling for a just transition for fossil fuel workers and their communities. We call on the whole climate justice movement and all trade unionists to join the mobilisation, stand with the Eraring workers and the Lake Macquarie community and demand the public investment, forward planning and job guarantees badly needed at this crucial time.
For more information contact Paddy Gibson: 0415 800 586