The Victorian secretary of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Dean Mighell, told the July 20 Age that his union could not support the Gillard government’s carbon price plan.
Mighell said the scheme gives compensation payouts to the fossil fuel giants, but gives no guarantee for workers employed in coal-fired power stations in Victoria’s Latrobe valley.
The Age reported that Mighell supports a carbon price, but said the government’s plan included no assistance to affected workers or measures to make the Latrobe valley a “rewewable energy hub”.
Mighell said: “If you come down to the valley and you look at the potential impact this is going to have on our members down here and the communities they live in, it's almost like they took decades to get out of the devastation of the privatisation of electricity.
“It really is heartbreaking for them to contemplate another 3000 or 4000 jobs out of this region with no plan to create anything else. That is a real concern for us.''
The decision means the ETU has broken ranks with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, which has endorsed the carbon price scheme.
The Australian Workers Union also announced it backed the plan on July 18. The union said: “We believe the federal government has put forward a responsible package — one designed to protect jobs and support businesses.”