Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised 50,000 green jobs and apprenticeships. But the opposition is skeptical.
Unveiling a $94 million package at the Labor's national conference in Sydney today, he said the new clean energy jobs of the future will arise from the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, the renewable energy target and energy efficiency measures in the future.
"Specifically, these fifty thousand positions will be made up of:
• 4000 disadvantaged job seekers participating in the current insulation program;
• 6000 local green jobs through the jobs fund;
• 10,000 places in a new National Green Jobs Corps;
• 30,000 trainees and apprentices in priority sectors of the building and construction sectors and other trades, where places will concentrate across the range of "green skills" competencies that will be needed in the future. These will be achieved through a new National Green Skills Agreement and will start building a new skill base in existing industries and cutting-edge industries, and create jobs and opportunities for generations to come.
The practical job-ready skills included in this training will include:
• Training electricians in the installation of solar energy;
• Training plumbers in the installation of water-recycling, plumbing systems; and
• Training workers in the booming home insulation industry and the retro-fitting of buildings to reduce energy consumption package will allow for the training of electricians in the installation of solar energy, plumbers in water recycling, and the retro-fittings of houses," Mr.Rudd said.
The Greens have welcomed the moves to create more green jobs, but say the country's reliance on high-pollution industries needs to be addressed first.
Tasmanian Greens Senator Christine Milne says thousand of jobs would be created by market forces if the Federal Government agreed to adopt the Greens' carbon emissions reduction target of 40 per cent.
She says unless that happens, the Government will just create unrealistic expectations among young people.
"It's time for the Rudd Government to recognise that green jobs need to be underpinned by a green economy. That means don't sandbag the past, go with the future," Senator Milne said.
"It means a 40 per cent cut to greenhouse gas emissions, transformation in the Australian economy."
But Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt says only a fraction of the positions are actual jobs.
"The Prime Minister of Australia making an overstatement of real jobs by a factor of almost 10," he said.
"It's a green fraud on young people; it's a terrible disappointment that the Prime Minister is claiming 50,000 jobs and delivering barely one-tenth of that."
Mr Hunt says it does not make sense that young people have to be unemployed before they can access the training.
"There is a disastrous flaw in the program that instead of avoiding unemployment you have to become unemployed," he said.
"That's not how it should be."