The Nationals don't seem to have the support of the agriculture sector for their resistance as the major farming and livestock groups have set their own target for emissions reductions. It seems that the Nationals are more concerned about coal miners in NSW and Queensland, as the writing is certainly on the wall for the phasing out of coal.
We recently viewed a Foreign Correspondent program, "Old King Coal" , which looked at what was happening in Spain, where the government has declared an end to coal mining and coal fired energy. The program interviewed some of the miners who had been able to take government funded early retirement and others who had moved to different government sponsored jobs. There was some criticism from former miners about this transition program.
We have often talked about the need for a national transition plan in Australia to help coal mining areas cope with the decline of coal mining. At our most recent session we discussed an article about what had happened in the Latrobe Valley with the sudden closure of the Hazelwood power station. The Victorian government established the Latrobe Valley Authority, with a $226 million rescue package designed to retrain workers and entice workers to the Valley. It seems that this transition plan has worked well, as the gloomy predictions for the Latrobe Valley following Hazelwood's closure have not eventuated, and there has been an increase in employment rates. Members felt that what had happened in the Latrobe Valley could provide some guidance for a national transition plan.