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Green Collar jobs to boom -

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Green Collar jobs to boom

The World Today - Tuesday, 3 February , 2009 12:26:00

Reporter: Michael Edwards

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Many jobs have been lost in the global financial crisis but there could be light
at the end of the tunnel for job seekers.

There are predictions a new generation of jobs will be created as governments and businesses adopt
more environmentally friendly practices.

Advocates of wind and solar energy and other types of green technology say it could revive
Australia's economy.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: It doesn't seem so long ago that people used to talk about computer literacy as an
essential to get ahead in the jobs market.

But now the talk is about green literacy.

Phil Freeman is from the Australian Conservation Foundation.

PHIL FREEMAN: Just as we had to learn computer skills and become computer literate in the last 20
years, we're going to have to become literate in the new green skills of the future. And that goes
for all job occupations. It means electricians are going to have to have green skills, we're going
to need green plumbers, teachers will need to know about sustainability and all the way through to
the banking sector. There's a lot of bankers out of work at the moment. The big bright future for
them is in carbon trading and new financial instruments that drive investment into the clean
industries of the future.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Phil Freeman says concern about climate change is driving a growth in green
technology, and that along with this will come a massive growth in "green collar" jobs.

PHIL FREEMAN: In six industries alone that we looked at last year with the ACTU, there's a
potential for half a million jobs and there are plenty more industries in the sector that the
Government should be looking closely at. They include renewable energy, energy efficiency,
sustainable water industries, bio-materials, green buildings and construction, waste and recycling,
to name a few.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Fiona Wain is the chief executive of the advocacy group Environment Business
Australia.

She says the present economic troubles do present opportunities.

FIONA WAIN: It's a hard time, it's a tragic time for a lot people. Let's not gloss over that. But I
really think it is an opportunity for us to really reassess where our value systems lie, where our
training needs to be, where our outputs need to be, and how we get there.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Fiona Wain says she expects there will be a big shift towards jobs in the green
technologies sector.

FIONA WAIN: In terms of title you could dream up anything that you like. It's the content of what
has to happen. If I was back at university now I would be jumping up and down with excitement
because I would be wondering where to go because there are so many different options in
architecture, planning, are really going to move into their sexy era. And renewable energy to my
mind is the big no brainer in all of this and this is where Australia really can lead, and cannot
only lead in helping revolutionise the next industrial era in this country, but can help develop
that in Asia.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The Greens leader Senator Bob Brown agrees. He says saving the environment could
be the way to save the economy.

BOB BROWN: Wherever you look at saving the planet, you increase the number of jobs.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But Bob Brown says this green revolution can only come with full government
support.

BOB BROWN: And that means a big investment in schools and in education. And we're way behind the
rest of the world after 12 years of the Howard government in spending there. So that's got to be a
priority.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Phil Freeman from the Australian Conservation Foundation says Australia has been
slow to act, but he says future prosperity depends on it doing so.

PHIL FREEMAN: This is the bright light for Australia. We've got huge potential to create these
types of "green collar" jobs and grow our new clean industries. But we have to start now and we
have to follow the lead of the US. We're seeing the Obama administration with a big green jobs plan
and also China putting hundreds of billion dollars behind these new industries as well. If we don't
go for it in Australia, we're going to miss the boat.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Phil Freeman from the Australian Conservation Foundation ending Michael Edwards's
report.