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Manufacturing needs green jobs plan

Media Release
Adam Bandt 8 Apr 2014

Greens Deputy Leader and Industry spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said pressure is mounting on Tony Abbott to produce a jobs and manufacturing plan. 

“Today’s report from the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency is a wake-up call for Tony Abbott to produce a jobs and manufacturing plan,” said Mr Bandt. 

“In the US, Michigan built on its historic auto manufacturing strengths to grow its renewable energy industry, providing new employment for its skilled workforce,” said Mr Bandt. 

“By comparison, Tony Abbott has failed to deliver his assistance package to Victoria’s retrenched auto workers and doesn’t even have a plan for jobs or manufacturing.” 

The Government’s Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) today said 45 per cent of manufacturing workers don't have post-school qualifications, and that better skills are required to help transition them to high-tech, niche markets. 

ABC Victoria has today reported that TAFE is under “significant threat” from budget cuts. Meanwhile, the Clean Energy Council says Australia risks falling from the top-10 renewable energy producing countries if it axes its renewable energy target and undermines the billions slated to be invested into the domestic renewable energy industry. 

“Mr Abbott should heed the advice of the AWPA and help up-skill manufacturing workers before we get left even further behind,” said Mr Bandt.  

“The solution is obvious: create manufacturing jobs and skill-up our young workers by growing our renewables industry like the US, Europe and China. 

“A strong renewable energy sector means jobs, like the Launceston metalworkers who made the towers for the 168-megawatt Musselroe wind farm in Tasmania.

“Or the 600 new jobs created in Adelaide when leading solar panel manufacturer Tindar Solar invested $20 million to make solar panels there.

“Skilled-up Australian workers could play a role in China’s booming renewables industry but for Tony Abbott’s lack of a plan or vision.

“Instead of Australia being the world’s leader, it is China which will be the world’s biggest renewable energy generator and Australia is being left behind. 

“Tony Abbott doesn’t have to look far for a plan. He could use IRENA’s 2011 report, which sets out how to grow renewable-energy industry jobs. 

“Instead, Tony Abbott is fiddling while the country’s manufacturing jobs go up in smoke.

“If there’s one thing people expect from a Government, it’s a plan for jobs and manufacturing. To be a country of skilled workers that make things, we urgently need one now,” said Mr Bandt. 

The US 

Michigan's clean economy helped power the state's post-GFC recovery, employing more than 76,000 workers.[1] As Michigan expands its clean energy production, the renewable energy industry could support nearly 21,000 jobs in manufacturing alone by 2020, if the industry sources components from local manufacturers.[2] In total there were 142,698 solar workers in the U.S. as of November 2013. This is a 20 percent increase over 2012 figures and ten times higher than the national average employment growth rate, which was 1.9 percent.


The share of electricity produced from renewable energy in Germany has increased from 6.3 percent of the national total in 2000 to about 25 percent in the first half of 2012.[1][2]  In 2010, investments totalling 26 billion euros were made in Germany’s renewable energies sector. Germany has been called "the world's first major renewable energy economy".[5] 

According to official figures, some 370,000 people in Germany were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2010, especially in small and medium sized companies. This is an increase of around 8 percent compared to 2009 (around 339,500 jobs), and well over twice the number of jobs in 2004 (160,500). 


China will lead growth of renewables industry, while Australia risks being left behind . China and Brazil lead the world in renewable energy employment, hosting nearly half of all green energy jobs, according to a new research report. Worldwide, about 5.7 million people worked in the renewable energy sector in 2012 directly or indirectly, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates in a report released this week. Of those, nearly one in three is based in China. Another 14 percent are in Brazil.

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