Co-op to ‘work our way out of the climate emergency’

Community members and union representatives in front of Hazelwood coal-fired power station, Morwell, Victoria.

More than 100 community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the “100,000 Australians” campaign.

A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign seeks to build a cooperatively-owned factory making solar hot water systems in Morwell, Victoria.

The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 a member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish.

The factory is to produce the Everlast tank, solar collectors and associated components, which Earthworker says are already successful in the marketplace.

“We are going to grow Australian manufacturing jobs which produce the renewable energy goods and work our way out of the climate emergency,” said Dave Kerin, national coordinator of the 100,000 Australians campaign.

“Starting with Morwell, Victoria, and then putting the same cooperatively-owned factories across the carbon dependent areas of Australia, we are not waiting any longer while spoilers reduce Australia’s chances to pick up the manufacturing opportunities that will come once there is a price on carbon. Forget the blame, we want the jobs.

“Across Gippsland there is popular support for the Earthworker Cooperative’s push towards the first manufacturing plant, Eureka’s Future Workers Cooperative, which will manufacture solar hot water systems.

“In the wage clauses of Enterprise Bargaining Agreements negotiated between unions and employers, workers will have the ability to collectively purchase the goods and services produced by the manufacturing cooperatives, reducing their bills towards zero, creating jobs which never leave our shores and which attach training with a long-term future for our young.”

To join up to the Earthworker co-operative, or find out more, visit its website.

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