Solar workers to PM: Don’t mess with our jobs

Around 13,000 workers in Australia’s solar power industry have joined together to voice concerns about their careers as part of a new campaign by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

The group has directed the slogan, “don’t mess with our jobs” to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with the aim of persuading the federal government to reject recommendations to slash Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) and Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).

The campaign’s first wave of newspaper ads (pictured), released in October, featured ‘selfies’ by hundreds of solar industry employees.

CEC acting chief executive Kane Thornton said the SRES has seen the solar industry grow in a little more than a decade and, now, more than two million Australian homes and businesses generate some of their own power through the sun.

“The solar industry supports 13,000 direct jobs – most of them in small and medium-sized businesses in locations all round Australia including rural and regional areas. The jobs range from solar installers, to office administration, to managers, to marketing and sales and more,” he said.

“But all these jobs are under threat if the federal government accepts the recommendations of the recent Warburton review of the RET to severely reduce or completely drop the small-scale scheme along with the RET.

“Surveys have repeatedly shown Australians want more renewable energy, not less. The SRES in its current form is the best way to ensure families and businesses can continue to access solar power systems and support thousands of jobs.”