Quotes attributable to Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy, who is one of the speakers at the Jobs and Skills Summit’s Workforce opportunities from clean energy and tackling climate change session:

“This summit is tackling many urgent and important matters – skills shortages, gender equality, fairer pay and wage growth.

“After two decades of inaction, climate change is urgent.

“Our nation’s biggest contribution to global warming is through the export of Australian coal and gas, which heats our planet regardless of where it is burnt.

“Thanks to our coal and gas exports, Australia is the world’s third largest exporter of climate-heating emissions.

“Our greatest contribution to a net zero world would be to rapidly transition our exports from dirty to clean.

Research by Accenture shows Australia could become a renewable exports superpower, generating 395,000 jobs and $89 billion in revenue by 2040.

“To achieve that we’re going to need a national energy plan and a national exports plan that align with net zero, co-investment to accelerate clean exports and a transition authority to make sure the transition is fast and fair, especially for workers and affected communities.

“The Jobs and Skills Summit is an opportunity to gaze forward to imagine what we want our country to be and what we want to build, grow and export in a net zero world.  

“Climate solutions are Australia’s economic advantage, but we need to maintain a laser focus on renewable energy and clean exports. More coal, gas and oil is the exact opposite of what is needed for energy security, jobs and a safe climate.

“The job opportunities are not limited to tackling the climate crisis. Australia also faces an extinction crisis. Looking after nature generates jobs, especially in rural Australia.

“From sustainable farming to Indigenous Rangers caring for Country to accountants helping businesses understand their reliance on nature, caring for nature generates abundant jobs.” 

Read ACF’s Jobs and Skills Summit paper, Clean exports: jobs boom and a safe climate

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