Price on carbon to lead ‘Green Collar’ jobs boom

by Stephanie Zillman13 Oct 2011

Yesterday the Labor government’s carbon tax was officially passed by the lower house, and already commentators are tipping the beginning of a new jobs boom; the so-called green collar workforce.

The passing of the bill is touted to revolutionise the green jobs market, and Green Collar Talent’s Jan Rieche said it is an exciting time for the industry. She expects the number of jobs in carbon offset generating projects, such as forestry and soil carbon, to increase markedly.

“Companies affected by the legislation will see an advantage to employ people to meet compliance and reduce emissions. Thanks to improved planning security we can expect carbon abatement and energy efficiency projects to be approved along with increased [research and development] spending,” Rieche said.

Phil Freeman, from the Australian Conservation Foundation, said that in a joint project with the ACTU last year, the potential growth of 500,000 jobs across six industries was outlined, namely in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water industries, bio-materials, green buildings and construction as well as waste and recycling.

Speaking to HC, John Revie from carbonjobs said a major challenge for most in-house sustainability professionals was changing the thinking of senior management.

“[Many still see] climate change, carbon and energy measures as purely a cost imposed upon their employer business, as opposed to a tangible benefit that often has a genuine ROI once implemented,” Revie said.

Regardless of the roadblocks, Tim Wilson, director of the Institute of Public Affairs, believes the green jobs sector is set to explode.

"Basically this whole carbon tax-emissions trading scheme is an injection of a green currency. Under the new tax, the new Clean Energy Finance Corporation will be given $10bn worth of funding to manage and invest in the deployment of clean energy alternatives,” Wilson said.

If invested correctly, those billions are set to provide a large boom for all green jobs in Australia.

-Stephanie Zillman



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