The ACTU says the Federal Government is putting the metals industry at risk with its lack of any emissions policy.

Australia’s peak trade union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), wants the Federal Government to come up with a “credible” emissions reduction and renewable energy policies.

If it does not, the union says it risks losing more of Australia’s core industries, including aluminium smelting and other metals manufacturing and fabrication industries.

The general gist of the federal Coalition’s energy technology roadmap is to look at emissions-reduction technologies before setting a long-term emissions target, rather than setting the target to stimulate technological responses.

“Given that Coalition parties have spent a decade opposing any form of carbon pricing … or regulation, the Technology Roadmap risks being regarded as the latest attempt to craft a climate policy that is acceptable to a Coalition party room hostile to climate action,” the ACTU’s submission to the technology roadmap discussions paper said.

“Despite this strong sense of déjà vu, the ACTU is committed to contributing to the development of a coherent Australian climate and energy policy.

“Without immediate action to guarantee a predictable trajectory of falling emissions, Australian metals manufacturing and fabrication industries risk continued decline and will be extremely difficult to re-establish.”

It included a warning about the future of smelting in Australia, with all four of Australia’s remaining aluminium smelters currently under review.

“The absence of a credible emissions or energy policy nationally jeopardises the future of all of these smelters and many other manufacturing and processing businesses,” the ACTU said.

“These and other asset owners will need much more immediate steps to match their energy usage profiles with declining emissions sources in order to continue operations and remain internationally competitive.

“If we lose these manufacturers it will be very difficult to entice them back.

“While the confidence in hydrogen and low emissions manufacturing in the Roadmap is welcome, it cannot be a ‘future vision’- we need immediate action and policy support to expand and futureproof our existing manufacturing base and the jobs these industries support.

“Australia may well have a competitive advantage in renewable energy powered mining, metals processing and manufacturing, but it will not be realised if we have to start rebuilding our manufacturing industries from scratch.”