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Vic jobless rate on the rise… Renewables to the rescue?

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Premier Napthine and PM Tony Abbott.

Victoria is facing a jobs crisis. Nationally, the unemployment rate has jumped to a twelve-year high of 6.4 per cent, with Victoria among the worst performing mainland states with an unemployment rate of 7 per cent.

The Age newspaper report that youth unemployment in Victoria at a 15-year high. Premier Napthine’s electorate in south west Victoria is among the hardest hit.  State political editor, John Gordon writes:

…in the south-west, which covers Denis Napthine’s electorate, youth unemployment is highest, averaging 18 per cent over the year to July, 2014, compared to 14.2 per cent for same 12-month period a year earlier.

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The Hamilton Spectator, one of the newspapers published in the Victorian Premier’s seat.

Overall unemployment figures in south west Victoria are equally disturbing (it’s front page news in the region). The jobless rate in the south west 8.9 per cent and the region is on track to become one of the toughest places to find a job in the state.

Renewable energy provides huge employment opportunities for Victoria, and especially for the south west with a rich wind resource and local manufacturers with a foothold in the sector.

On Sunday, Yes 2 Renewables and partners hosted a Renewable Energy & Jobs Forum in Portland. Keynote speaker, former Australian Liberal party leader Dr John Hewson, told the forum that “One of the great bright spots is the renewable energy industry.” 

Former Australian Liberal leader Dr John Hewson sees renewable energy as a "bright spot" in the economy.
Former Australian Liberal leader Dr John Hewson sees renewable energy as a “bright spot” in the economy.

Renewable energy has created hundreds of jobs and unleashed millions of dollard worth of investment in south west Victoria. Yet, Portland-based businesses warned that 170 renewable energy jobs would go if the Abbott government axes or weakens the Renewable Energy Target by 40 to 60 per cent.

On the other hand, if the 41-terawatt-hour Renewable Energy Target is retained Victoria would gain up to 6,400 jobs, with 750 situated in Premier Napthine’s own electorate.

It’s puzzling then that the Napthine government recommends weakening the Renewable Energy Target by 40 t0 60 percent in its’ submission to the Dick Warburton review of the Renewable Energy Target. If the Napthine government won’t support the national Renewable Energy Target, then his government could create investment certainty by reinstating a state-based renewables target.  

Where’s the logic in pursuing an agenda that threatens a growth sector and jobs? That’s what Victorian voters don’t understand.

With letters to the editor like the following appearing in newspapers across the state, it’s time for the Napthine government dump his advisors and listen to the community. Victorians see renewable energy as a golden opportunity for our state. A key driver of jobs into the future.

Jobs blown away

With Victoria’s unemployment hitting a 12-year high, why do we have a government stopping job creation in the renewable energy sector? In Macedon, Australia’s first community-owned wind farm thrives near Daylesford but the arbitrary ”no go zones” created by Ted Baillieu and endorsed by Premier Napthine have killed off a community wind farm proposed for Woodend.

These laws have cost Victoria 438 megawatts of clean energy, representing $864 million worth of investment and 466 jobs. Wind farms create jobs, deliver drought-proof income for regional communities and help tackle global warming.

Barry Huxley, Riddells Creek

TAKE ACTION

  • Sign our petition calling on Premier Napthine to encourage renewable energy jobs by scrapping anti-wind farm laws and reinstating a Victorian Renewable Energy Target.
  • Please support our campaign by getting involved or making a donation.
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