Earthworker cooperative

Ms  GARRETT  (Brunswick) —  I  rise  to acknowledge the  fine  work  of  the Earthworker  Cooperative,  which is  progressing  strongly  in  its  mission  to establish local jobs  in the manufacturing of  sustainable and renewable  energy technology after a decade of groundwork  and  preparation.  It  is  a unique and pioneering collaboration between employers,  unions and community  activists and is supporting local manufacturing jobs at a time when  they are sorely needed in Victoria by producing cost-saving renewable energy technology for households and families here and across the country.

The Earthworker Cooperative is working to establish an Australia-wide network of not-for-profit cooperatives,  beginning  with  Eureka’s  Future, a  worker-owned factory that will manufacture high-quality solar hot water systems in Morwell.

Through  partnerships with local businesses, Earthworker  is currently producing solar  hot  water  components  in  a  factory in Dandenong and plans  to  expand production into Morwell soon,  bringing  much-needed  employment  to the Latrobe Valley.

What is  unique to  this cooperative is its use of agreements between unions and employers whereby  individuals can decide to purchase a solar  hot water service through the cooperative as part of  their negotiated agreement. This gives those families and households  the opportunity to reduce their energy bills,  helps to create manufacturing jobs and addresses our need to reduce carbon pollution.

I call on the  government to fully  investigate  this important cooperative  and support  it as is appropriate,  particularly in light of yet another disgraceful decision to cut the Victorian energy and efficiency target program and hack into much-needed environment and energy efficiency programs.

  The SPEAKER — Order! The member’s time has expired.

Hansard, 11 June 2014