JobKiller: Australian climate inaction puts 20,000 NSW jobs at risk from carbon tariffs

13.10.21 By
This content is more than 2 years old

A NEW REPORT released today by the Climate Council finds the lack of federal government climate policy exposes the nation to serious economic consequences – including 20,000 jobs at risk in New South Wales – from carbon border tariffs.

Markets are moving: the economic costs of Australia’s climate inaction was authored by Climate Councillor Nicki Hutley, a former partner at Deloitte Access Economics.

Ms Hutley said: “The world is responding to the climate crisis and carbon border tariffs are now inevitable. Australians will pay the price unless the federal government cuts our national carbon emissions in line with our major trading partners – and NSW will be disproportionately affected.

The European Union announced a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) in July 2021. Ms Hutley said the new modelling by economists at Victoria University shows Australia will experience a cut to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a result. 

If South Korea, China and the Group of 7 follow suit, New South Wales will be heavily impacted due to the dominance of targeted exports – particularly coal. Under the above scenario, the state is projected to lose around 20,000 jobs and more than $5 billion in Gross State Product.

“The federal government should be getting out in front, and putting support for regions affected in place. The new, low-carbon economy is coming and we urgently need a transition plan in place for Australian communities and workers”, said Ms Hutley.


Ms Hutley said there are huge opportunities for investment in clean jobs and industries with modelling by Beyond Zero Emissions estimating Australia could grow a new green export mix worth $333 billion per annum, almost triple the value of existing fossil fuel exports. Deloitte Access Economics’ modelling suggests support for a low carbon economy would add $680 billion in economic growth and 250,000 new jobs by 2070. 

“We have the natural resources and the ingenuity to become a world leader in renewable energy, and in industries such as clean manufacturing, minerals processing and renewable hydrogen – bringing tens of thousands of jobs to the states and regions. 

Ms Hutley said, “Federal government action is long overdue. As a first step, we should match our key trading partners and at least halve emissions by 2030. In line with the science, the Climate Council recommends a 75% cut by 2030 on the way to zero by 2035.”

For interviews with Nicki Hutley or John Connor please call Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Hannah Izzard on 0475 247 754.

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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