The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has thrown its support behind a planned day of action against the gas industry, led by the same network of students responsible for last year’s climate school strikes.
The #FundOurFutureNotGas Day of Action, to be held on 25 September will see the School Strike 4 Climate network join with First Nations communities, unions (including the ANMF), and others across the country to demand that the federal government rules out spending billions of COVID-19 recovery funds on gas, the network said.
Formed in response to leaked information that the government was considering the use of billions of dollars of COVID-19 recovery funds for the gas industry as part of the nation’s economic response, there will be more than 100 small COVID-safe actions stretching from Perth to Cairns.
The students will be joined by several unions that have endorsed the action, including the United Workers Union, Maritime Union of Australia and the ANMF.
Organisers are using the protest to make the case that using taxpayers dollars to prop up the gas industry is a misuse of public funds. The network says funds could be better spent investing in alternatives like renewable energy that will create thousands of more jobs and help combat climate change.
As part of the action, the students demand that the COVID recovery funds be used to: “Guarantee land rights and care for country” by prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions; create jobs that address the current climate crisis “and help communities recover”; a focus on projects that use “expanded public ownership” to facilitate an economy that relies on “100% renewable energy by 2030“.
“Gas is a dangerous fossil fuel that’s fuelling climate change,” explained school student Francesca Smith from Narrabri, a town that has a direct relationship to the gas industry.
“Renewables are the cheapest form of energy and would create thousands of jobs for young people like me. Spending public funds on polluting gas is a waste of money that is also putting our climate and our safety at risk.”
Adjusting to the reality of the current pandemic, the national day of action will follow COVID-19 restrictions, with those who are in lockdown contributing to the cause by organising online events and actions.