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Policy report

The political, ecological and economic challenge of decarbonising Australia’s energy and industrial base is crying out for leadership. The next five to ten years are crucial to ensure that the worst outcomes of the climate crisis are mitigated, and we have a unique opportunity to reframe our economy in the interests of the people who work within it.

This report aims to provide insights and options to policy-makers, so that we can both confront the challenges and seize the opportunities of action on climate change. We must start by acknowledging that there are no easy answers, no quick fixes to our ecological and economic predicaments, but the evidence shows that there are credible options available if we have the collective will to implement them.

The first section of the report outlines the case for a renewed focus on the role of government in managing a swift and secure structural adjustment to a post-carbon economy. The authors consider how previous structural adjustments have been managed and outline the macroeconomic policy levers that need to be utilised in order to flip the switch on the new economy: industry policy, skills formation, new industrial models, infrastructure spending and social procurement policy.

The second section makes the case for better jobs, with skilled pathways into employment that provide certainty, security and stability for workers and their families. The authors argue that only by investing in workers and their communities can the shift to a net-zero carbon economy avoid the unemployment, underutilisation and insecurity that previous structural adjustments have created.

In the third section, the authors turn their attention to the cleaner jobs that will come through an industrial diversification project, not just in renewable energy but also in battery technology, additive and advanced manufacturing, regenerative land care and rare earths.

Finally, the report concludes with concrete recommendations that the federal government must implement as soon as possible after the coming election, in pursuit of a safe and prosperous future for all Australians.

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