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Green jobs key to economic statement



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Senator John Coulter N ^ E W S

Australian Democrats Leader R E L E A S E

92/ 16 February 1992

Green jobs key to economic statement

The Federal Government should not ignore environmental concerns in drafting its Economic Statement, Australian Democrats Federal Leader Senator John Coulter said today.

He said the economy and the environment were no long separable. Long term economic development was totally dependant on the environment.

Environmental industries were labour intensive - the long term solution to unemployment - and would lead they way in the next century.

Senator Coulter said the Tasmanian election result, where the five Greens held their seats and the Liberal party won government at the expense of the ALP, was a clear indication that the Australian people remained deeply concerned about the environment.

"Polls are constantly showing the environment is a key concern. What people want is green jobs. Jobs in sunrise industries, jobs that develop skills that will remain useful for a lifetime. Long term there is no separation between environmental protection and economic development."

Senator Coulter urged the government to look to sunrise industries in drafting the statement. He warned ploughing public money into unsustainable industries would further entrench the boom bust economic cycle that had been plaguing Australia for the last twenty years.

He said many environment-friendly labour intensive projects were waiting for Government go- ahead to get off the ground. .

"Australia is a world leader in' sewage treatment technology. It is in danger of being lost overseas through lack of government support.

"Waste management, pollution abatement and renewable energy are the industries of the future. The projects are ready to go. Government needs to get behind them or else the valuable technology will be lost overseas."

Senator Coulter said the Government must use the economic .statement to lead Australia into a sustainable 20th century.

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"The Australian public wants a visionary statement that will solve unemployment problems without environmental abuse. . ‘

"An electric car industry is just waiting to go. The Sydney-based Elroy Engineering needs a government contract for a few hundred cars and $3 million to get started. Within two years an electric car plant could be employing upwards of 2,000 people and exporting technology.

"Kenaf, a fibrous tropical plant, that replaces timber in the paper-making process has been extensively trialled in northern Australia. It's proved suitable for the west, north and even as far south as the Murrumbidgee. Collapsing rural Australia is begging realistic government support to diversify.

Senator Coulter said the Democrats were preparing a Business and Industry Statement to be released later this year that would detail the nation's many viable green job projects.

He urged the Government to look towards similar sunrise projects and warned electoral peril would follow environmental neglect.

"The Liberal Party in Tasmania won at the expense of Labor. The Greens who held against the Liberal onslaught," Senator Coulter said.

Contact: Senator Coulter 018 630 136 at Hotel Victoria 03) 653 0441 Jenni Mack hme: 06 288 1436 wk: 06 277 3646