Blueprint for a Low Carbon Future for the NSW Hunter Valley
Program Director - Prof Mark Bray
Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union
Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
Industry Stakeholder Steering Committee
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union; Nature Conservation Council of NSW; Clean Energy Innovation Centre Newcastle; Newcastle Trades Hall Council; Department of Premier & Cabinet; HunterNet; Australian Industry Group; Department of Environment Climate Change and Water; Energy Transformed Flagship CSIRO; Hunter Institute of TAFE; Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle; Australian Workers' Union - Newcastle Branch; Hunter Councils Inc.; Department of Industry & Investment NSW; Hunter Business Chamber.
University Research Team
Professor Mark Bray - Chair of the Research Team; member Steering Committee
Professor John Burgess - Principal Researcher
Dr David Collins - Senior Research Associate
The Hunter economy includes a number of major energy-intensive enterprises which will be impacted by climate change policy, including two aluminium smelters, six power stations, steel and other large-scale manufacturing sites. The Region includes 11 local government areas from Lake Macquarie to the upper Hunter Valley.
The imposition of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, together with other Commonwealth and State policies, is designed to send a price signal to industry to wind back high emissions industry and promote investment in lower carbon emissions industry. This entails job losses in some industry and employment growth in other areas. It does not follow that the losses and gains in a region like the Hunter Valley will automatically lead to net employment growth, or even an equivalent level of employment, or that the new jobs will be equivalent to the high wage, high skill jobs that they "replace".
Critical to the most rigorous, effective NSW government response is the development of a comprehensive outline of the key opportunities for public and private investment and employment growth in the Hunter Region and the pathways to the development of a low carbon future for Hunter Valley industry.
The Project will outline a series of key projects and initiatives for public investment that offer the best value for money proposition to promote employment growth in the nominated industry area. The project will engage with, educate and be informed by local business, corporations, community organisations and employees and contribute to the ongoing development of the Department of Industry and Investment (formerly Department of State and Regional Development), "Regional Business Growth Plan - Hunter Region".
The Project will provide a blueprint for the future economic development of low carbon Hunter Valley industry, and a pathway to public and private investment in a high employment sustainable and competitive future for the region.
The project has the capacity to build a NSW Government plan for employment opportunities and private sector investment in renewable energy, low carbon industry (including a strategy for providing sources of renewable energy to local high emissions industries), energy efficiency and the manufacturing industry in the Hunter Region and beyond.
In the medium to long term, and beyond the life of the period for which the grant is sought, the project will build a substantial body of research into "green job" employment futures for the region and engagement with industry and government that will complement the activities of local institutions like the CSIRO and the Commonwealth's Enterprise Connect Clean Energy Innovation Centre. The project will actively encourage, and facilitate quality applications for Australian Research Council (and other) funding to ensure ongoing high level publications and advice to government and stakeholders.
The principal objective of the Project is to draw a blueprint for a low carbon future for Hunter Valley industry and develop rigorous, credible strategies for government, private sector and union investment, action and policy. Specifically, the project seeks to:
- Establish a Taskforce composed of industry, community and business groups to contribute to the oversight and ongoing development of the Project;
- Establish a multidisciplinary team of research experts at the University of Newcastle to undertake research and writing consistent with the aims and objectives of the Project;
- Identify, by industry sector, the likely impact of Commonwealth and State government climate change policy and activity upon employment patterns, skills, job design and job quality in the Hunter Region;
- Develop an inventory of the Hunter Region's capacity to develop a competitive sustainable low carbon industry, including its natural wind, solar and geothermal resources, its engineering, scientific and innovation capacity and its skills base;
- Identify the areas of maximum potential âgreen jobsâ employment growth in renewable energy, energy efficiency and manufacturing within the Hunter Region and nominate a series of key projects, infrastructure and activities necessary to the development of low carbon industry, energy efficiency, renewable energy and related manufacturing for the region that offers the best employment prospects and identify other sources of employment growth in associated industries like defence procurement.
- Analyse the impediments to the development of low emissions, renewable energy or manufacturing jobs in the Hunter Region;
- Nominate a series of key projects necessary to the development of low carbon industry for the region, and;
- Educate affected employees, employers and the community about climate change policy, its impact upon industry and the opportunities for employment growth and skills development, job design and job quality. This will include the development of a short training module for workplace delivery on the programme and key issues for employees and businesses including skills, energy efficiency, job design and industry issues, and a series of community consultations through the region;
- Develop a scoping study for the NSW government and the Stakeholder Committee members by December 2009;
- Develop a public release document with a series of recommendations to the NSW Government consistent with the aims of the project in mid 2010.