Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a walk-through at BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a walk-through at BlueScope Steel in Port Kembla. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard.

Dawson, Capricornia ‘at risk’ for net zero target job losses

Federal electorates of Capricornia and Dawson are the most "at risk" for job losses from a net zero emissions target, a new report claims.

The bleak outlook was laid out in the Institute of Public Affairs' Net Zero Jobs document.

The IPA is a conservative think-tank based in Melbourne.

The document uses data from the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory by Economic Sector report, along with industry employment data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, to estimate how many jobs would be put at risk from a net zero emissions target.

It claimed that up to 653,600 jobs would be directly in the firing line from a net zero emissions target.

But Labor spokesman for Northern Australia Murray Watt has rubbished the claims as a "blatant scare campaign from a fringe group".

The report said potential job losses would be experienced in the agricultural sector (306,000 jobs), the primary metal and metal product manufacturing sector (74,100 jobs), the electricity supply sector (64,100 jobs), coal mining (62,000 jobs), and air and space transport sector (38,100 jobs).

An analysis of Commonwealth electoral divisions found Capricornia had the third highest number of jobs at risk from a net zero emissions target compared to all federal seats, with almost 8 per cent under threat.

The Dawson electorate had the 12th highest number of jobs in danger, at almost 6 per cent.

The report claimed it was also "unlikely" renewable jobs would replace those lost as a result of the target.

A graph showing the top 20 electorates with the most jobs at risk. Picture: IPA
A graph showing the top 20 electorates with the most jobs at risk. Picture: IPA

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"As this report highlights, between 2009-10 and 2018-19, five manufacturing jobs were destroyed for each renewable activity job created," it said.

"A net zero emissions target would destroy communities where there is a high reliance on relatively more energy-intensive jobs.

"Adopting such a target in the wake of the largest economic contraction and employment crisis in recent memory, caused by COVID-19 and resulting lockdowns, would be devastating for Australian workers."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not committed Australia to a net zero target, but said his preference was to achieve the goal by 2050.

Dawson MP George Christensen said there should be no move towards net zero if it meant job losses in industries such as mining, farming and manufacturing or anywhere else.

"My view is that, outside of a quantum leap in technology, there should be no move towards net zero if it means job losses and this report shows it obviously will," Mr Christensen said.

"Many of those job losses would be felt in our region.

"It is my firm view that Australia should never sacrifice its workers on the altar of climate change and so I will vote against any laws that push for net zero emissions.

"Thankfully, the Morrison Liberal National government is not pursuing such job-destroying laws but Labor and the Greens will."

Mr Watt said Queenslanders would be working in coal, agriculture and other industries for years to come.

"But cutting emissions opens the door for thousands of new jobs across Dawson and regional Queensland - in trades, hydrogen, renewables and manufacturing powered by new, cheaper energy," he said.

"A recent report by respected economists Deloitte says that Queensland will create more jobs than any other state, from reaching net zero emissions, and that far more jobs will be lost if we don't take climate change seriously.

"Other countries are already moving ahead and grabbing these jobs. Labor wants to see them in regional Queensland."

 

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