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Albanese rejects renewables job doubters

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is adamant a shift towards clean energy will generate high-paid jobs in regional Australia despite concerns about the future of work.

Senior Nationals have warned wind and solar will not generate the jobs boom renewable energy advocates say can replace fossil fuel industries.

But Mr Albanese believes the economic shift to cleaner power will benefit the regions.

“A mistake that people make is if they see renewables as being just about renewables – wind farms, solar cells,” he told AAP.

“But the shift is about driving down clean energy for manufacturing that can lead to really high-value jobs.”

A $15 billion investment kitty is key part of Labor’s election pitch.

The government bank would support projects across a wide range of sectors including renewable energy, mining, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

Mr Albanese said creating a catalyst for private sector investment in regions would also take pressure off capital cities.

“If you can do that, then the regions have advantages because their overheads are less than closer towards CBDs,” he said.

The opposition leader used a range of companies in Queensland to underscore his point.

An aluminium refinery looking at solar power, a rail manufacturer expanding and an electric vehicle charger producer were among his examples.

Labor suffered massive swings against it in coal-mining seats at the last election.

There are fears in some regional communities the shift towards cleaner energy will not be accompanied by jobs with the same salaries as resources roles.

“If we get this right it will have those high-value jobs,” Mr Albanese said.

“You will have in terms of the sort of skills that are currently used in the energy sector will be skills and pay that can be applied in new energy as well.”

He said demand for mining of lithium, nickel, copper, gold and silver would increase.

The Labor leader also wants to do more to help the TAFE sector and regional universities to keep young talent in the country.

“Sydney University has done fine but regional universities that have lost the income that comes from overseas students – some of them are really really struggling,” Mr Albanese said.

“If we get it right there are plenty of opportunities there but people need a reason to stay.”

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