Australian trade unions support clean energy package

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 27, 2011
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Australian trade unions on Tuesday threw support to the federal government's clean energy package, telling a federal parliamentary inquiry that growth and wages could fall in short-term under measures to tackle climate change, but doing nothing would have a far worse effect.

Australian Manufacturers Workers Union spokesman Tim McCauley said Australia was only at the start of a clean energy revolution.

He linked tackling climate change and investing in clean energy to the transition from horses to cars.

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) spokesman Joel Fetter said a two degree temperature rise expected by 2100 could result in a high frequency of extreme weather events such as the 2011 Queensland floods, which severely hit Australia's gross domestic product (GDP).

Fetter said Australia needed to look at the bigger picture and take a principled stance.

"We (could) have a higher GDP if we allowed child labor, there' s many things that we could do to increase our GDP but we don't do them," he said.

The federal government has earlier introduced 19 bills as part of its plan to introduce a carbon emission price (tax) from mid- 2012. The carbon price would be fixed at 22.7 U.S. dollars per tonne for three years before a floating emission trading scheme starting in mid-2015.

However, Australian Coal Association claimed the carbon tax will cost coal mines 17.7 billion U.S. dollars over the next 10 years, and that it will hit the local industry.

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