Unions and community groups form new environmental jobs alliance in Geelong

A rally against gas in Geelong last November.

Thousands of jobs have been shed over the past two decades in this regional city, west of Melbourne, as big manufacturers and employers such as Alcoa and Ford have shut up shop and left.

Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) decided to address the lack of employment and put out a call for all interested parties to begin an Environmental Jobs Alliance Geelong (EJAG).

Thirty people attended a meeting on March 23 to discuss this. They represented 16 organisations, including 10 unions as well as Geelong Trades Hall. Two local Labor MPs sent their apologies and their representatives.

The meeting agreed to remain independent of GTHC, and decided on a set of aims for a charter. They include agreement on the name and a commitment to campaign for new environmentally-sustainable jobs in the region.

Also agreed was that EJAG would be an inclusive group, contributing time and resources to campaigns which influence public opinion, government policy and business investment decisions.

GTHC Secretary Tony Anderson told Green Left: “It’s a great opportunity for Geelong, with the emphasis for the community on jobs and the environment. It’s more than the federal government has ever thought of.”

The EJAG Charter will be both activist and research oriented.

EJAG will campaign for environmentally sustainable jobs, public sector funding and acceptable levels of apprenticeships and/or traineeships within those industries. It was also agreed that EJAG would support industries that use or are transitioning to clean, renewable energy.

Participants agreed that jobs and the environment do not need to be counterposed.

The meeting agreed to meet in another month to decide on a set of rules and future plans.

[To get in touch contact Geelong Trades Hall on 03 5221 1712.]

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