• Professor Philip Adams.
    Professor Philip Adams.

New research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute examines the impact of Australia’s net zero by 2050 transition on regions and industries.

It also provides recommendations on how to harness and mitigate the human cost.

Monash University executive officer, 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,” Hildebrandt said

In early May 2023 the Federal Government established a National Net Zero Authority to support Australia’s transition by 2050.

“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.

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 10 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,” Adams said.

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