It’s a great day, apparently, for Australian green job enthusiasts. Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, promised today to create 50,000 such jobs (and apprenticeships) and tackle climate change, the Boston Globe reports. His promise is part of a greater pledge to prioritize environmental legislation while tackling the country’s burgeoning unemployment problem.
The PM’s 94 million Australian dollar ($77 million) green jobs package will support a number of programs designed to equip Australians for employment in the emerging eco-friendly economy. These programs include 30,000 apprentice programs (offering training in sustainable building practices); creation of 10,000 Green Jobs Corps positions (offering training and public works jobs for unemployed youth); and creation of 10,000 additional jobs that encourage sustainability and green building practices.
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions reportedly described the green job plan a “great step forward.” The plan is also, judging from unemployment statistics, direly necessary: analysts predict Australia’s unemployment rate will rise almost 30 percent next year (from its current 5.8 percent to a whopping 8.5 percent).
In an effort to curb Australia’s CO2 emissions, Rudd, a member of the Labor Party, is also seeking to pass some tough climate legislation, which most opposition parties oppose. (Climate change is a hot topic among Australia’s legislators, many of whom are embroiled over the issue.) The legislation goes before the Senate for a second round of voting next month. If it doesn’t pass, the government may have to call a snap election.