Rudd is listening: 50,000 new green jobs and apprenticeships for Australia

Posted on Aug 03, 2009 02:06 PM |

Last week we asked readers of this blog and people on our jobseeker email list to email PM Kevin Rudd and tell him that while he may want young people to be "reasonable", and not to seek out their "dream jobs", we want an economy where all the jobs are "dream jobs".

While we surely haven't been the only ones saying this, the great news is that Rudd has listened and responded to community demands, announcing a plan to create 50,000 green jobs and apprenticeships at the ALP conference over the weekend.

According to the ABC, the plan involves $94 million dollars spent on:

  • 30,000 trainee and apprentice positions concentrating on "green skills" in building and construction;
  • 10,000 jobs in a new National Green Jobs Corps, allowing 18 to 24 year-olds to undertake a 26-week environmental training program.
  • 6,000 local green jobs through the $650 million jobs fund; and
  • 4,000 people in the previously-announced housing insulation program (who are already working).

While there has been some criticism of the plan from the federal opposition and from journalist Leon Gettler in The Age, there's no doubt that green jobs are also ethical jobs, so it's great news overall that the government is responding to the community in this way.

But the announcement is also a drop in the ocean in a country employing more than 10 million people.  It's important that the government deepens its support for green jobs not just because increasingly people want to do work that contributes to a more sustainable world, but more importantly because the country (and the world) urgently needs to tranisition to a sustaible, carbon-free economy.

But even if it's only a start, at least it's a good start.