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Skills for green jobs in Australia


Curtis, H and Douglas, N and Fairbrother, P and Grosser, K and Propokiv, V and Rafferty, M, Skills for green jobs in Australia, Skills for green jobs in Australia, International Labour Organization, ISBN 978-92-2-132905-3, Turin, Italy, pp. 1-45. (2018) [Government or Industry Research]

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Australia is a high carbon emissions country on a per capita basis, with an imposing challenge of transitioning to a low carbon economy. But the move towards a ‘green’ economy and a ‘green’ workforce with decent work has become more contested since the last ILO country report in 2009. Following many individual disparate regional and State initiatives, a set of promising steps at national level in the 2000s seemed to indicate that Australia may be moving to establish the basis for a lowcarbon economy and the training and labour market support necessary for a re composition of the workforce. At the time of the 2009 country report, signs of ‘green shoots’ could be readily identified in Australian climate and skills policy. After 2009, however, climate policy at national level has been characterised by bitter and seemingly intractable debate. One outcome is that there has been a lack of policy clarity and certitude, with the result that investment in renewables and even new energy generation capacity has suffered. In addition, the increasing privatisation of training and learning arrangements has removed clarity in relation to the scope and scale of support for the promotion of ‘green’ skills. This presents an obvious challenge to the capacity for greening the economy to deliver inclusive growth. While distinctive policies on Vocational Education and Training and green jobs were promulgated in the 2009–2012 period, since then there have been no major developments in Green Skills Training. Green Skills Policy was largely developed within the context of the previous Labor Government’s (2007-2013) climate commitments. The peak bodies of the major social partners, such as the ACTU or ACCI, have not developed major plans for action on climate change, and the burden of advocacy around climate change has shifted away from those traditional social partners to individual enterprises, social movement groups, and regional organizations.

Nevertheless, even without policy certainty and development, or strong leadership from the traditional social partners, previously instituted policy in areas such as more energy-efficient housing (building codes) are creating demands for embedding green skills in many building trades. Furthermore some corporations have begun to take steps towards moving out of coal-fired energy generation and shifting towards renewables ahead of government policy mandating the latter. Many corporations have begun to produce climate impact reports. Some State governments (Victoria, South Australia and Queensland) have moved to adopt their own emission reduction targets, and several city councils have also begun to take action to manage emissions. Promisingly, high consumer demand for rooftop solar panels for residential energy generation has continued, which - along with the rapid take-up of battery storage - suggests that there is broad support for more action on climate change. Finally, there is some evidence of a renewed bottom-up process of skills development. There are two features to this process: first, a range of seemingly ad hoc activities related to skills development has been initiated; and second, a broader assortment of social actors are engaging with the implications of climate change in ways that matter for ‘green’ jobs and decent work.

Item Details

Item Type:Government or Industry Research
Keywords:work, green jobs, employment, skills
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Human resources and industrial relations
Research Field:Workforce planning
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Work and labour market
Objective Field:Employment patterns and change
UTAS Author:Fairbrother, P (Professor Peter Fairbrother)
ID Code:146271
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Management
Deposited On:2021-08-26
Last Modified:2021-08-26

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