This paper examines how community-led campaigns rooted in environmental justice and local interests successfully disrupted the long-term dominance of fossil fuel interests in the Hunter Valley region of Australia. The authors argue that these campaigns would benefit from engaging with the labor community through the just transitions discourse, which offers common ground for all stakeholders.
The authors chronicle the long dominance of the fossil fuel industry’s interests in Australian government and society and discuss the origins of two community-led campaigns in Hunter Valley: Stop T4 Coal Export Terminal and Groundswell. They argue that these sorts of social movements, which are framed around environmental justice and just transitions, can serve as a unifying force against the hegemonic power of the coal industry. By examining how different types of unions align with the practices and principles of just transitions, they provide insights into the challenges and opportunities for such campaigns to engage the labor community effectively.
The authors conclude with lessons learned, highlighting insights from the closure of former steelwork factories in the 1990s. They reiterate the potential benefits of increased collaboration with labor and community actors for environmental justice and just transition campaigns.