We stand with Eraring power workers: large-scale public funding is needed to guarantee a just transition

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 


Sign our unionists’ statement against Morrison’s “gas-fired” recovery!

Click here to sign the statement!

Trade unionists reject Morrison’s “Gas-Fired Recovery” – No to the Santos Narrabri Gas project – Climate jobs and justice now!

Recent bushfires, heatwaves and water-shortages have made it clear to millions of workers in Australia that we are living through a climate emergency.

But Scott Morrison’s “Gas-Fired Recovery” plan is fast-tracking approval for gas projects and pouring millions of dollars of public money into new gas infrastructure, at a time when we desperately need to shift away from fossil fuels and create jobs in renewable energy.

Morrison’s claim that gas is a “low-emissions” technology is a dangerous farce. Gas is a carbon-intensive fossil fuel and gas production involves large-scale fugitive emissions of methane, an incredibly potent greenhouse gas. A recent report by the Global Energy Monitor found that if the $56 billion of gas pipeline infrastructure planned in Australia is all built, this would allow pumping of green-houses gases equivalent to thirty-three 1000MW coal fired power stations.

In NSW alone, Morrison’s policy is driving the development of new gas fields, pipelines and potentially five new gas-fired power stations.

The Narrabri Gas project, with up to 850 coal-seam gas wells, would be a carbon bomb, destroy fragile ecosystems, desecrate Gamilaraay lands and threaten to pollute water in the Great Artesian Basin.

Morrison wants to build a new gas power station with public money at Kurri Kurri, to replace the ageing coal-fired plant at Liddell, and feed it with gas from Santos.

In the middle of an unemployment crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a desperate need for government action to create new, ongoing jobs.

Rather than a “Gas Fired recovery”, which will exacerbate climate change and lock in polluting infrastructure for generations to come, we call for an economic recovery policy based on principles of justice for workers, First Nations and the climate.

Many thousands of jobs could be created through massive investment in publicly owned and operated renewable energy, public transport and other infrastructure needed to rapidly decarbonise the economy. With proper planning, this would ensure a just transition for fossil-fuel workers and secure a future for other essential industries, workplaces and communities currently reliant on fossil-fuels.

We stand with Gamilaraay people resisting Santos’ plans to destroy their country and the many First Nations people across Australia also fighting against gas projects planned on their lands.

We recognise the rights of First Nations to control development on their lands and enjoy employment opportunities to manage and rehabilitate their lands.

We call on the trade union movement to commit to active opposition to Morrison’s “gas-fired recovery” and fight for climate jobs and justice.

We demand:

  • No to Morrison’s “Gas-Fired Recovery” – No new fossil-fuel projects.
  • A just transition for workers and communities currently reliant on fossil-fuels, including with job guarantees.
  • Santos out of the Pillaga and off Gamilaraay lands – stop the Narrabri gas project and supporting infrastructure.
  • Build a 100% publicly owned renewable energy system NOW!

Click here to sign the statement!

This statement was initiated by Workers for Climate Action, Sydney.

Current signatories include:
Vanessa Seagrove, Assistant Secretary, Unions NSW
Paul Keating, Branch Secretary, MUA Sydney Branch
Brett Holmes, General Secretary, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association
Mark Northam, Secretary, IEU
Kylie Mckelvie, President, PSA
Denis McNamara, CFMEU Delegate
Steve Banks, Construction Organiser, ETU
Jacquie Myers, Vice-President, RPAH NSWNMA Branch
Natalie Wasley, Site committee delegate, MUA
Amity Lynch NTEU Organiser
Hannah Archer Lawton NSWTF Organiser
Cassandra Barford NSWNMA Delegate
Keiko Yasukawa NTEU Delegate
Jan Ogden NSWNMA Branch President
Erin Francis NSWNMA Organiser
Skye Romer NSWNMA Branch Secretary
Kay Burns NSWNMA Delegate
Jim Donovan National Secretary MUA Veterans
Shane Reside MUA Sydney Branch Organiser
Fiona Maley NTEU Delegate
Charlotte Brady RAFFWU Delegate
Deanna Hayes NSWNMA Delegate
Viv Honan NSWTF Councillor
Angela Gittus NSWNMA Branch Secretary
Louise K Fitzgerald NTEU Delegate
Tasha Linke United Workers Union Organiser
Giovanna Bonelli RTBU Divisional Councillor
Robert Boncardo NTEU Branch Committee Member
Nick Reimer NTEU Branch Committee Member
Michael Namrell IEU Councillor and Work place rep
Brendan De Silva United Workers Union Delegate
Alec Beville ETU Rail Delegate
Neil Evans UWU Delegate
Wayne Wobcke NTEU Branch Committee Member, UNSW Branch
Jufur Kutim UWU Organiser
Jagath Bandara ITF Lead Organiser
Swapnik Saragavarapu USYD SRC President
Tasha Linke United Workers Union Organiser
Barry Gardner MUA. Sydney Branch Veterans Member
Amanda Lockett NTEU Ordinary Committee Member
Ruby Wawn NTEU Delegate
Robert Car HSU Delegate
Gabi NSWNMA Officer
Janet Roden New South Wales Nurses & Midwives’ Association Professional Officer
Damien Davis Frank NSWNMA Delegate
Keiko Yasukawa NTEU Delegate
Fiona Maley NTEU Delegate

Caitlin Doyle-Markwick MEAA
Rosemary Saul NTEU
Liz Rechniewski NTEU
Miranda Samsa-Knapp NTEU
Patricia Evans HSU Member
Robert Car United Workers Union Member
Peyvand Firouzeh University of Sydney
Nicole Roberts Yes – NTEU
Juliet Bennett NETU
Sarah Bates NTEU/ UAW (USA)
Claire Hooker NTEU member
Brian Debus Ex Teachers Federation (retired)
Amber Teachers Federation
Kristy Ellis independent education union
Neil Poetschka ASU
Cheree Desreany NSWNMA
Monica Crouch IEU/MEAA
Amy Martin IEU
Eliza Hoye NSWNMA
Penny Pederson USU
Erima Dall MUA
Ruben Fela Maritime Union
Evan Breen Mua Rank and file
Margaret Hope Teachers Federation
Lone Hansen HSU
Sarah Ellyard NSWNMA- Macquarie Hospital Branch
Angie Gittus NSWNMA- Murwillumbah Hospital Branch
Catherine Clark NSWNMA
Mark Quealy NSWNMA
Grace Searle NSWNMA
Chris Nimmo NSWNMA
Elizabeth Turner NSWNMA Registered Nurse
Damian Nswnma
Niko Chlopicki United Worker’s Union
Feiyi Zhang Australian Services Union
Miroslav Sandev NTEU
Norm Short ETU

Dr Clare Cooper NTEU
Stephanie V PSA
Lachlan Good MEAA
Robert Car UWU & RTBU Activist Member
Peter Blackman None. (ex CWU and others)
Sue Virago None
Mark Goudkamp NSW Teachers Federation
Jim McIlroy CPSU Retired
Jean Parker NTEU
Diana Shahinyan NTEU
Mick Kaufman ASU Member
Cooper Forsyth United Workers Union
Melissa Seymour NSWTF
Tommy-John Herbert MUA Activist
Dominic Thomas United Workers Union
Andrew Olsson CFMMEU Rank and file
Robyn ELLWOOD Nurses and midwives
Maree McDermott ASU Life member
jacqueline UWU
Penny B NSW Nurses’ & Midwives’ Association
Heather Ryan NSWNMA
Timothy Davis Frank NSW Teachers Federation Member
Tom Fiebig SDA
Ryan Mcgibbon-Thompson Maritime union of Australia
Matilda Fay NTEU NSW
Peter Robinson USU
B. Devenyi Botos NSW Teachers Federation
S Rowland NSW Teachers Federation
M Coote NSW Teachers Federation
Patricia Chen NSW Teachers Federation
Gai Wholohan NSW Teachers Federation
Kay Kim NSW Teachers Federation
Chris Yates NSW Teachers Federation
Sarah Attfield NTEU/UTS
Deanna Hayes NSWNMA
Charlotte Brady RAFFWU
Lachlan Good MEAA
Daniel Smendely FSU
Louise Katz NTEU
Emma Easterbrook IEU
Emmanuel monteiro NSW teachers Federation
Adam Baldock UWU
Stella Babidge RAFFWU
Ellie Williams CPSU
Violet Stokoe-Miller NTEU
Arron Platt CFMMEU
Peter Murphy MEAA
Evan Gray UWU
M Cuhhimo CFMEU
Darren Gimam CFMEU
Luke McConnell MUA
Jye Challenor MUA
Beau Challenor MUA
Ethan Tipping MUA
Bradley Anderson MUA
Alex Suhle UWU
John Dempsey CFMMEU
Kerry Farrell MUA
Bailey Murphy MUA
Dean Smith MUA
Paul McAleer MUA
David Douglas NTEU
Mark Gawne NTEU
Jeane Wells NTEU
Sheryl Vine NTEU
Chrisanthi Goitis NTEU
Thalia Anthony NTEU
SS4C Australia NA
Benny Kreger MUA
J King MUA
Wal Pritchard Retired MUA
Matt Lawrence MUA
Zac Russell MUA
Glen Mallon MUA
Tony Burgess MUA
Robert Campbell MUA
Jamie Moran MUA
Terry Relph MUA
Barney Gardner MUA
Bruce Ho MUA
Kevin Tuckwell MUA
Jeff Carroll MUA
Leonard Hemmings MUA
Nicole Roberts NTEU
Liam Orr UWU
Janine Kitson NSWTF
Darren Hall FBEU
Bronwyn Kelly RTBU
Justin Bradley NSWTF
Greg Kennedy MUA
Tracy Ryan MUA
Craig Sheahan MUA
Hayley Edmonds UWU
Bernadette Ellisha HSA
Alana Cruikshank HSA
Rashedo Bowers ASU
Helen Westwood ASU
Shane Bentley MUA
Luke Pullen MUA
Joe McDonald MUA
Shawley Kanaan CFMEU
Mark Perkin CFMEU
Bill Bone CFMEU
N. Correna CFMEU
Ethan Hough CFMEU
Mick Walker CFMEU
Nyang Acuein CFMEU
Emmie Shuttleworth CFMEU
Toru Rashelo CFMEU
Katie Hepworth ASU
Rowena Parry Teachers Federation
Lachlan Good MEAA
Josh Dodsworth HSU
Ama Samarah FSU
J Wilson CFMEU
Joanne Moffitt NSWNMA
Rowena Parry Teachers Federation
Ama Somaratna FSU
Lachlan Good MEAA
Josh Dodsworth HSU
Timothy Davis Frank NSW Teachers Federation Member
Chris Lovelee MUA
Matthew Hirst MUA
Yanis Sigvas CFMEU
George Joseph CFMEU
Moses Taku CFMEU
Concetta Hamilton AUWU
Rebel Hanlon CFMEU
Mark Cunningham CFMEU
Dr Clare Cooper NTEU
Sally Chessell none
Kurt Iveson NTEU
Tom Fiebig SDA
Peter Bee NTEU
Donald Skerman APESMA
Jane Thorn ASMOA
Vivian S. n/a
Glen Williamson MUA
Ben Roberts MUA
Robert Clarke MUA
Hannah Morgan ASU
Justin Hewitt CFMEU
Mia Dabelstein UWU
Jason Ward UWU
Anna Blake RTBU NSW n/a
Miguel Dominguez United Workers Union
Joey Reinhard RAFFWU
Harpreet Dhanjal United Workers Union
Craig Atkins United Workers Union
Jeannine Banakat PSA
Y. Moloney NSW Teachers Federation
M. Walker CFMEU
G. Slater FBEU
Len Hobbs NSW Teachers Federation
J. Ladevig AWU
Viola Morris NSWNMA
Rich Clough USU
William Simmons FSU
Frank Webb PSA
Rohitesh Nrayan CFMEU
Adrian Sarrat NSW Teachers Federation
Carly Phillips NSWTF
Izabella Nantsou NTEU
Alan Roberts NTEU
Elizabeth Vleeskens NTEU
Ben Eldridge NTEU
Sertan Saral NTEU
Christian Gelder N/A Usyd
Mila Heneck NTEU/ Hospovoice
Markela Panegyres NTEU
James Whelan Australian Services Union Member
Alana Louise Bowden NTEU The University of Sydney
Dominic Thomas United Worker’s Union
Nick Dobrijevich NTEU
Mya Walmsley RTBU
Phoebe cook Australian service union
Kelton Muir de Moore National tertiary education union
Finola Laughren NTEU/UWU
Cameron Lawrence NTEU & RAFFWU
Rochford NTEU
Aniela United services union
Drew Beacom United Workers Union
Nicholas Avery NTEU
Lone Hansen Hsu
Paul Smyth ASU
Naomi Christian FSU Member
Anne Junor National Tertiary Education Union Life Member
Angela Moles NTEU UNSW
Richard Corkish NTEU
adam hulbert NTEU
Louise McKenzie NTEU Member
Bronwen Morgan NTEU Member
Kynan Tan NTEU
Steven Kwon ASU
Meloni Muir NTEU
Sonia Mattson NTEU
Paul IEU Worker
Martin Magee UWU Factory Operative.
Sean Bowes NTEU
Jack O’Brien NSWTF
Mark Kearin NSWNMA
Tom Rane NSW NMA
Paddy Byrne USU
Rachel Fall USU
Keith Quayle NSW CAFP
Wayne Sonter AUWU
Richard Hasseul CPSU
Jacque Carouska AMWU
Nathan Everson AMWU
Ian Sherwood HSU
Connor Daly SDA – IKEA
Rebeccah Miller CPSU
Ozge Aktas ADSU
Semre Coban ECSC
Serdar Gencer DKCC
Michael Whaites NSWNMA
Brett Holmes NSWNMA
Wendy Smith NSWNMA
Veronika Black NSWNMA
Koady Williams NSWNMA
Siobhan Fulton NSWNMA
Ian Dixon UWU
Jess Ashdown PTEU
Toby Fitch NTEU
Lucy Petchell USYD
David Brophy USYD NTEU
Joel Griggs USYD NTEU
Georgia Carr USYD NTEU
Finola Laughren USYD NTEU
Robert Boncardo USYD NTEU
Declan Caruso MEAA Member
Sophie Adams NTEU UNSW
Patricia Evans HSU Member
Louise McKenzie NTEU member
Micheal Thomson NTEU

This statement was initiated by Workers for Climate Action, Sydney.

Click here to sign the statement!

Health crisis, climate crisis, jobs crisis: Climate justice in a pandemic

Statement from Workers for Climate Action, Sydney, 20 April 2020

We welcome feedback on the statement below on dealing with the health, climate and jobs crisis we currently face, to workersforclimateaction@gmail.com.

In the midst of a global pandemic, the world is heading into unprecedented levels of unemployment and likely an economic depression. In Australia, tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, with unemployment likely to reach more than 10 per cent this year.

The global pandemic has exposed the inability of a system run for profit to make health or safety a priority for all. Whilst this pandemic unfolds, the climate crisis continues to intensify.

It is estimated that over a third of the population of Vanuatu is homeless after the devastation of Cyclone Harold. The Great Barrier reef experienced its warmest-ever water temperatures in February and a severe mass bleaching event.

Communities and infrastructure still recovering from the devastating bushfire season are now hit with a frightening health crisis. Just as we saw the devastating impacts of cuts to frontline jobs in fire-fighting, we are now faced with the legacy of budget cuts that have produced a shortage of healthcare professionals, beds and equipment. The pandemic has laid bare the danger of semi-privatised health systems starved of adequate resources, underfunded public education systems, an economy reliant on casualised employment, and fragmented lowest-cost just-in-time supply chains.

The climate movement must continue to campaign, but reorient our politics to call for the jobs and justice we need to address the overlapping health, climate and jobs crises we face.

The crisis has also exposed the fact that governments can act decisively, spend billions and reorganise essential services in the space of a few weeks.

The pandemic has exposed the inadequacy of the transition to renewable energy being left to private investors with no just transition plan, and widespread non-union jobs and poor working conditions. Government support has been limited to fragmented ‘incentives’ for private renewables. A falling Australian dollar has suddenly increased costs for importing solar and wind components. Combined with the end of the Renewable Energy Target and enormous problems in our fragmented and part-privatised transmission grid, it is now expected that not a single new wind or solar project will reach financial close in 2020 – and we may see bankruptcies before current projects are completed.

Now, more than ever, we need direct public planning, financing and ownership of our energy systems, so they can be reorganised in the public interest – to provide good stable jobs building essential renewable energy infrastructure, and universal access to low-cost energy.

$320 billion has been spent by the Commonwealth and states on COVID-19 ‘stimulus’ packages. Yet most of this has gone to support existing operations of private companies, with few strings attached. The government’s new National COVID-19 Coordination Commission includes current and former executives of privatised emissions-intensive industries such as Fortescue Metals, Energy Australia, Strike Energy, Perth Airport and Toll. During the pandemic, the fracking ban was quietly lifted in Victoriacoal expansion approved in NSW, and renewable energy research jobs cut from the CSIRO. We must not allow the government to return us to business-as-usual.

Public investment must mean public ownership and control to ensure the money is spent in the public interest and provides good union jobs and universal access to essential services.

We demand massive public investment to provide thousands of jobs, to reduce emissions, and to provide the services people need.

We must build a publicly-owned renewable energy system that is planned to provide for a just transition and local manufacturing.

We must create jobs to reduce emissions across all sectors of the economy.

We call for justice and self-determination for First Nations people. Communities must have control of their lands and waters and funding for community development and jobs on country. Indigenous-led land management is vital to repair ecosystems and reduce fire risk.

We need to find new ways to organise and mobilise to achieve these demands. Workplace organising is more important than ever as it remains one of the few places where people are drawn together and have some power. Civil liberties restrictions must be lifted as soon as practicable.

Workers for Climate Action are determined to continue this struggle in whatever ways we can during this time, with a view to returning to the streets in our thousands when it is safe to do so.

We urge everyone to support the May 1 Movement in Sydney’s plans for May 1 decentralised actions for workers’ rights, social justice and climate action.

We urge everyone to participate in School Strike for Climate online rallies for 15 May.

We urge everyone to support the United Workers’ Union Workers’ Plan to Survive the Covid-19 Crisis.

We congratulate Friends of the Earth Australia for developing the Covid-19: Blueprint for Climate Justice.