“The transformation of the global economy needed to achieve net zero is a very significant industrial undertaking,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“Our transition to a clean energy future cannot be completed without a highly skilled workforce and substantial research and development, which means it cannot be achieved without our universities working hand in glove with TAFE and vocational education providers.
“These are the vital functions our institutions perform on behalf of the nation – the education of skilled workers and the advancing of research and development.
“University researchers are responsible for printable solar panels, while university-educated engineers are designing and delivering renewable energy projects across the country.
“Our move towards net zero can’t gain pace without more of this.
“We welcome the report’s recognition of tertiary education’s role in delivering the fundamental skills needed for the net zero workforce.
“Equally, we welcome the report’s acknowledgement that the tertiary sector will need more support, more collaboration and more innovation to meet the needs of net zero.
“As a member of the Jobs and Skills Australia consultative forum, it’s great to see this first workforce study conducted in such an important area.
“Universities are a willing partner of government in rising to this national challenge, but we can’t do more with less.
“We need the full support of government and the right funding and policy settings to continue the education and research needed to guide Australia’s successful transition to a clean energy future.
“Government must not waste the opportunity it has in the Australian Universities Accord to provide universities with the funding and policy certainty we need to continue doing our job for the nation.”