Mining companies seem to be announcing operations wind backs and closures almost daily at the moment, and with that comes a loss of jobs. While the situation is tragic for those affected, Australia now has a golden opportunity to change focus from the environmental destruction associated with the mining industry to the further development of the renewable energy sector.
As was the case with the technological revolution that saw computers in every business, replacing many jobs but creating new careers in the IT industry, so it can be with a transition from mining to sectors such as energy efficiency, wind power and solar energy.
Leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, has called on the Australian government to assist those losing their jobs in mining by re-skilling them for careers in cleaner energy alternatives. Mr Brown believes there are tens of thousands of potential jobs just in adding solar hot water and retro-fitting insulation on every house in Australia; with the additional benefits of cutting monthly power bills for families struggling with the current economic crisis, reducing energy demand and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Brown has also welcomed the inauguration of US President Barack Obama and states that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should follow Obama’s lead of creating 5 million green jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy as well as research and development in clean technology with a 300,000 Australian green jobs plan in the upcoming economic stimulus package