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