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Transition to Net Zero not one size fits all

Media Release

New research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute has painted a clear picture of how Australia’s Net Zero by 2050 transition will impact regions and industries and recommended how to harness and mitigate the human cost.

Dr Melinda Hildebrandt used modelling completed by VU’s Centre of Policy Studies in 2021 to examine features of the most affected regions and industries, and some of the current transition initiatives already underway.

“We interviewed people engaged in work on local transition programs, mostly in the Hunter and LaTrobe valleys – this presented an accurate picture of the human cost and the significant need for urgent and targeted responses,” Dr Hildebrandt said.

In early May 2023, the Federal Government established a National Net Zero Authority to support Australia’s transition by supporting workers, coordinate programs and policies and help investors and companies.

“The National Net Zero Authority is welcomed but to ensure the authority is effective, we recommend a nuanced approach taking into account the unique features of each region and industry – it can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach,” she said.


  1. Coordinate resources across different levels of government and organisation so that the support is provided where and when it is needed.
  2. Identify best practice and fund support to affected regions/employees so that regions can learn from each other.
  3. Conduct further research so that policy makers are informed about the changing impacts of the transition to net zero economy at an industry and regional level.

The 2021 modelling focused on two labour market scenarios:

  1. ‘Business-as-usual’ where Australia continues to rely on fossil fuels and does not reduce its emissions.
  2. Where Australia commits to net zero emissions by 2050.

VU’s Centre of Policy Studies’ Professor Philip Adams said the work provided the evidence needed to challenge perceptions of transitioning to net zero would be an economic disaster. The team also identified the nine regions and ten industries most affected by a transition to net zero.

“The modelling shows all regions in Australia will continue to grow in a post-fossil fuel era – in fact, industries you’d think would suffer like coal mining, will continue to be sizable employers,” Professor Adams said.

The research team has submitted their final report to Jobs and Skills Australia for consideration.


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  1. Andrew Smith

    They will be up against the negative agitprop from our fossil fueled think tanks, owned media and influencers, while too many Australians are dismissive or don’t care and can’t be arsed to support policies and regulation, often stymied by bogus economic and environmental arguments e.g. too expensive and simply do ‘degrowth’ instead.

    However, offshore in the mainstream the evidence is already apparent i.e. economic growth rising while carbon emissions fall fast, due to economics and the free market, speeding up transition.

    Burn-Murdoch in the FT (with a very descriptive graphic embedded) ‘Opinion – Data Points: Economics may take us to net zero all on its own. The plummeting cost of low-carbon energy has already allowed many countries to decouple economic growth from emissions’ (23 Sep ’23).

  2. andyfiftysix

    what really depresses me is the fact they need to do research on this issue. It stands out like dog’s balls. Really, are we that fucking stupid?
    one, that we compare no action to “some action” is depressing of itself. The recent petrol price hikes of 50c a litre over night suggests to me that going full electric is of national importance. How many billions of $ of imports will we save, how much can you save driving an electric car compared to a “fossil”. No questions on this important feature.
    two, the jobs mantra is now fully exposed for what it is …… they are looking for data to prove the mantra.
    I tell you all again, a decent UBI and then do whats necessary to get our economy on a strong footing. Stop wasting time fiddling on the edges of the clifftop. If you think capitalism is the best since sliced bread, unleash the beast but hold up the workers who dont fit. I would have thought in this day and age thats the obvious path. Or is robodebt still in this government’s DNA, after all, they have bought into the economic modelling cycle.

  3. leefe

    “what really depresses me is the fact they need to do research on this issue. It stands out like dog’s balls. ”

    What really depresses me is that, despite the obviousness and the research, the fossil fools won’t budge an inch on the issue.

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