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Australia could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by accelerating shift to zero emissions – report | Australia news

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Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be created in Australia by hurrying the shift to zero greenhouse gas emissions, a study backed by business and investment leaders has found.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 835,000 jobs have been lost since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown began in March. A report by Beyond Zero Emissions, an energy and climate change thinktank, says practical projects to decarbonise the economy could create 1.78m “job years” over the next five years – on average, 355,000 people in work each year – while modernising Australian industry.

Called the “million jobs plan”, it says further stimulus measures needed to fight the Covid-19 recession are “a unique opportunity to lay the foundations for a globally competitive Australian economy fit for 21st century challenges”.

The report focuses on proposals it says are already being planned and could create jobs by accelerating private and public investment in renewable energy, clean buildings, clean transport, manufacturing and land use that will happen in the years ahead anyway. Benefits would include improved air quality and new employment in regional areas.

Eytan Lenko, Beyond Zero Emissions’ interim chief executive, said the group had brought together investment, business and industry leaders to scope the best clean solutions that would drive productivity and growth.

“No one thought 2020 would turn out the way it has. We now have a unique opportunity to seize this moment, to retool, reskill, and rebuild our battered economy to set us up for future generations,” he said.

The plan would require hundreds of billions of dollars in investment. It says clean energy investors have indicated their willingness to spend on this scale, pointing to the more than $100bn of existing renewable energy projects proposed but yet to be built.

The report says Australia risks missing out on some of these opportunities, and others in electric transport, zero-carbon manufacturing and green steel, unless governments deliver policy certainty and help create an environment that encourages large clean investment deals. Reserve Bank research found the number of large-scale renewable energy projects reaching commencement fell about 50% last year after a record-setting 2018.

Beyond Zero Emissions says governments also have a role to play in direct investment in, for example, urgent transmission line projects to new renewable energy zones, the construction of energy-efficient social housing, and the introduction and expansion of electric buses and trains.

“Such projects represent excellent value for taxpayers,” the report says. “New transmission infrastructure will unlock billions of private investment in renewable energy. More social housing means less homelessness and fewer resources expended on dealing with the problems of homelessness. Electric public transport leads to better air quality, and fewer health problems linked to pollution.”

It also calls for governments to stimulate private spending by underwriting renewable energy industrial zones, guaranteeing developers a minimum price for their clean energy and using record low interest rates to to help kickstart new business models. They could include allowing homeowners to pay for home energy retrofits over time, without a large upfront cost, using a similar model employed in mobile phone contracts.

Significant figures from across the community, including business leaders, unions and the welfare sector, are pushing for a green recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. Project advisers on the Beyond Zero Emissions plan included former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and economist Ross Garnaut. Speakers at the Monday launch event include software billionaire and philanthropist Mike Cannon-Brookes, the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and Deanne Stewart, chief executive of First State Super.

In a statement, Cannon-Brookes said the plan showed the way to an economic recovery that would set up for the country for decades to come. “There is no doubt that the million jobs plan is bold, but importantly it’s also doable,” he said.

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.



Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes. Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

The Morrison government has not yet made low-emissions investments a priority in its recession response. The energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, called for a gas-fired recovery, and the National Covid-19 Coordinating Commission has strongly backed expanding the gas industry while giving little consideration to renewable energy.

The Beyond Zero Emissions report estimates there would be nearly 200,000 jobs in renewable energy, building and transport construction and more than 200,000 ongoing positions across all sectors measured. It does not estimate the number of indirect jobs that be created to support the direct jobs.

Steps in the plan include:

  • Supporting the rapid deployment of 90 gigawatts of renewable energy over five years, creating 124,000 construction jobs and 22,000 ongoing jobs, and backing the local manufacture of components including wind turbines and batteries.

  • Creating a “net zero energy home” standard that would require covered buildings to generate as much energy as they consume, and setting a national target to eliminate emissions from the buildings sector.

  • Governments to expand social housing programs to build 150,000 publicly owned, zero-emissions homes.

  • Creating renewable energy industrial zones in which energy-intensive manufacturers can access renewable energy at a low fixed cost.

  • Using government procurement policy to prioritise locally manufactured products built using low-emissions technology, and introducing a zero carbon industry strategy that could help establish renewables-powered industry such as hydrogen and green steel.

  • Rolling out 13,000 electric buses, replacing 30% of the existing bus fleet, and electrify 3,000km of rail track over five years.

  • Building or improving 5,000km of cycling lanes.

  • Setting a national target of 90% resource recovery, and set minimum requirements for recycled content to drive the supply of new products.

  • Creating 40,000 land care jobs by revegetating 27m hectares – 3.5% of Australia’s land mass – in five years and 55m hectares over a decade.

  • Creating a national careers institute to work out what training would be needed.

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DeWine schedules Wednesday night coronavirus briefing; cancels today’s session | News, Sports, Jobs

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COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine has scheduled a Wednesday night news conference to discuss the current state of the cornonavirus pandemic and the recent increases in cases and virus spread. The conference is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

DeWine canceled his scheduled briefing today a few hours before it was set to begin. His usual briefings begin at 2 p.m. An evening news conference is unusual.

A spokesman for the governor said that DeWine will deliver a speech, and that no question-and-answer session will follow at the end, as is typical in his afternoon briefings.

The governor is expected to still hold a briefing with media questions and answers on Thursday afternoon.

New COVID-19 cases reported in each of the last seven consecutive days have ranked among the state’s all-time record highest.

While the 1,142 cases reported today represented the second straight drop in the number of new cases, it still remained the 10th-highest number of new cases reported in Ohio in a day.

The state is averaging 1,260.3 new cases per day over the first three days of the week. That’s more than the 1,147.3 daily average last week, when the state set a record for most cases in a week with 8,031.

Statewide, five new COVID-19 deaths were reported Tuesday, down from the daily average of 16 during the previous 21 days. That did not yet include one reported Tuesday by the Trumbull County Combined Health District.

But hospitalizations in Ohio were up Tuesday. That number was 134 compared to the daily average of 80 for the previous 21 days.

Trumbull reported 1,090 total cases as of Tuesday, an increase of seven since Monday. Mahoning County listed 1,996 cases, an increase of 25 since Monday. Columbiana County had 1,406 cases, the same as Monday.

There was one death reported Tuesday in Trumbull County after two were reported Monday. It now has 83 COVID-19 deaths. Mahoning has 239 deaths, with none reported since Thursday. Columbiana has 60 deaths, with none reported since July 1.

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Walsh Administration Launches Initiative To Help Residents With Criminal Records Access Jobs, Housing

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is launching a new initiative called Project Opportunity, which aims to help residents seal or expunge their criminal records and help them get better access to jobs and housing. WGBH Morning Edition host Joe Mathieu spoke with Rufus Faulk, director of Boston’s Office of Public Safety, about the new program. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: You were director of victim services at the Mass Department of Corrections earlier in your career, so you have pretty unique insight into how difficult it is to manage life with criminal charges or to reintegrate into society after being incarcerated. How would this program help?

Rufus Faulk: So the goal of this program is to make sure that we connect residents with free legal consultation to determine if their CORI’s even eligible for sealing or expungement. We cover the filing costs for that. But I think one of the main features of this program is our ability to, once folks have their records viewed, then try to connect them to employment and other social service opportunities. We’re just trying to assure that every resident in the city of Boston has an opportunity to prosper and recognize that those with CORI often have trouble doing so.

Mathieu: And when you say “CORI,” we’re referring to criminal charges in general, right?

Faulk: Yes, absolutely.

Mathieu: Are you working with the private sector [and] local industry to help place these individuals into jobs?

Faulk: So that’s one of the main features of this. We are making sure that we connect to the local and regional economy to try to see which industries are the ones that are most open for growth, and what we found is those tech spaces, those spaces around hospitality [and] in those building trades. We’ve had experience with this with a program called Operation Exit, which features some of the same population, giving them training around the building trades and then trying to usher them into that field, so we’re trying to expand upon that into other industries that are open for growth for folks who have CORI records.

Mathieu: We did some exclusive reporting about Operation Exit here at WGBH News, and I was lucky enough to attend one of the graduation ceremonies. It’s been a wild success from all metrics in terms of placing people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds into new careers, essentially. The numbers are relatively small, though, right? How will you start in terms of some of the class sizes, if you will, in helping individuals make that move?

Faulk: So as of right now, we’ve had 65 registrants. We’re trying to be very broad in terms of our external partners — both internal in terms of our city departments, but also externally working with other entities and departments who deal with that similar population. So we’re trying to cast a wide net. It’s simple registration. You go to owd.boston.gov/projectopportunity, and that gets the process started. We have a great partnership with Lawyers Clearinghouse and that’s our legal partner who [is] supplying the volunteer lawyers to meet with residents and to thoroughly review their CORI options. So we’re trying to be as inclusive and expansive as possible, trying to turn over every stone in terms of industry, but also make sure we’re pulling in all of our partners, whether it be the Suffolk County DA’s office, whether it be entities like our local courthouses and entities like STRIVE Boston — just trying to make sure that we are inclusive and expansive so that everyone recognizes that this is a free opportunity for them.

Mathieu: Director Faulk, that brings us to the greater conversation happening here in Boston and all over the country: how to break systemic racism. The fact is, criminal records disproportionately impact people of color.

Faulk: Absolutely, so we recognize that some of the unintended consequences of policy has been really just overpolicing and over criminalization of Black and brown communities, largely stemming from the war on drugs, where a lot of folks who were dealing with addiction were then criminalized. That created a massive population of folks who have these CORI records. And recognizing that in this time that we’re living in, we’re looking at, How do we have a real public health approach to closing some of these gaps? And that’s what we recognize in our Project Opportunity. Mayor Walsh has made the idea around second chances not only foundational in his life, it’s been foundational in his tenure as mayor. So this program is just a continuation of that.

Mathieu: Another story about second chances. There are efforts underway to dismantle systemic racism in city government. The mayor recently appointed a chief equity officer. The City Council is taking its own path. But I wonder, Director Faulk, as a man of color who works inside this very system, what are your thoughts on this? How much work does Boston need to do?

Faulk: I’m someone who was born and raised in Roxbury. I’m 38 years old. I’ve been very fortunate in my life that I don’t have a CORI. Well, I actually do have a CORI; I had a trespassing charge when I was 14. But I also had friends who were 16 [and] 17 who were caught with a bag of weed, and that one bag of weed really derailed their entire lives.

So I recognize what the landscape has been in the city of Boston and how so many of us could get caught up in the system so easily. Boston has a long history of issues around racism that impact Black and brown communities, but I think the first step is for us to acknowledge them, and then the second step is make sure that we’re listening to the community to fully address them.

And Project Opportunity is continuing our goal in trying to address the systemic racism and recognizing that the only way we will be able to undo some of the past missteps is to be able to be really at the forefront around policies. This is our attempt to do [something for] those impacted by CORI and impacted by criminal record. So we’re just trying to continue that process [and] recognize that we have a lot of work to do.

But I think Boston can be a leader, especially in this time. We are in a unique times. This is historic times around making sure Black life is valued in policy, and I think we are on the path. And I feel good about being an administrator and being able to lead such an effort.



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Strike | News, Sports, Jobs

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Members of Operating Engineers Local 324 picket in front of Road Machinery & Supplies Co. in Negaunee on Monday. Twelve employees, who work in the service department of RMS as mechanics, have been in negotiations with the distributor of construction and mining equipment for nearly a year. (Journal photo by Lisa Bowers)

NEGAUNEE — Motorists traveling on U.S. 41 between Marquette and Negaunee may notice a group of picketers outside Road Machinery & Supplies Co. in Negaunee.

Members of Operating Engineers Local 324 are striking for a fair contract, union spokesman Matt Bourdage said.

Twelve union members, who are employed as mechanics in the service department at RMS, have been in negotiations with the local distributor of construction and mining equipment for over 10 months, he said.

“We are on strike until we get a contract,” Bourdage said. “We have been in pretty tough contract negotiations for, well, Aug. 1 will be a year now. So we have been working for almost a year without a contact and we want a contract with a fair retirement before we come back to work.”

When contacted on Monday afternoon, RMS officials declined to comment on the matter.

Members of the union will picket the business until a contract can be negotiated, Bourdage said.

“If members of any other union want to stand in solidarity with us and fight this fight, they are more than welcome,” he said.

According to its website, Operating Engineers 324 represents 14,000 individuals across Michigan who are employed in the construction trades as heavy equipment operators. The union’s members also include those involved in commercial and public building maintenance, bus drivers, hospital staff and hospitality workers.

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