School strikers are claiming a victory with Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement that he will attend the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
More than 10,000 students participated in more than 40 different locations according to organisers. The actions demanded "deep, sustained and immediate emission cuts (net zero by 2030) ahead of the COP26".
Across New South Wales, more than 900 school students and supporters rallied online due to pandemic restrictions.
Arlie Bragg, a secondary student from Armidale in New England, described the "scary" impact of recent violent storms, preceded by the drought and devastating bushfires of 2019–20. "What is going to happen next because of climate change?" she asked. "We want the federal government to approve and fund renewable energy projects, and stop approving and funding disastrous fossil fuel industries," she said.
Jamie Newlyn, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) assistant national secretary, stressed the importance of a just transition for workers in the coal, gas and oil industry to renewable energy industries.
"Workers in the offshore oil and gas, and in the coal industry, need alternative, secure and well-paid jobs in renewable energy industries. Our union and others are trying to combat the government lies that climate action will destroy jobs.
"There is currently no legislation covering offshore wind generation in Australia. The MUA is working closely with the Electrical Trades Union to press for federal government legislation to cover offshore wind projects, which can provide secure, unionised jobs for our members."
Phillip Marrii, a young Indigenous man from the Gomeroi Nation in northern NSW, warned of the "non-stop push for unrestricted development, in particular the threat from Santos to expand its coal seam gas fracking project in the Narrabri region".
He said First Nations peoples opposed fracking plans in the Northern Territory and the Adani coal mine in Queensland because they threaten land, water and sovereignty. "If we are able to fight back together effectively, we must recognise that climate justice and Aboriginal justice are closely interconnected."
Speakers included Shane Reside from the Sydney MUA; Greens MLC David Shoebridge, School Strike 4 Climate, National Tertiary Education Union, Australian Student Environment Network and Young Labor Left.