Western Australia risks falling behind in the race for clean energy investment unless it attracts more skilled workers, businesses have warned.
A policy paper released by WA's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) has found the state's businesses are committed to acting on climate change and optimistic about the opportunities it presents.
But many smaller and medium-sized firms are not well prepared to adapt their operations and are daunted by the challenge ahead of them.
"They are finding embarking on the climate change adaptation and net-zero journey extremely complex and challenging, and the current suite of tools and resources available to support them overwhelming rather than helpful," the chamber said on Tuesday.
One business, a medium-sized manufacturing company with plans to sell its products to Europe, reported being asked for the first time to provide details of its emissions profile.
"It is only a matter of time before this level of detail is required for all international business dealings," the CCI said.
The paper, developed following consultation with thousands of member businesses, highlighted the need to import more skilled workers.
State and federal migration programs should capture the largest number of occupations possible, the chamber said.
It called for skilled migration visas to provide an option for permanent residency.
"Advancement of green energy projects requires the same skills as competing sectors, creating a fiercely competitive jobs and skills market," the CCI said.
The chamber also called for businesses who are looking to invest in green energy to be given easier access to land and infrastructure.
WA businesses are split on whether the state government should legislate its aspiration to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
A plan to slash whole-of-government emissions to 80 per cent below 2020 levels by the end of the decade has also not been enshrined in legislation.
The CCI argues none of the targets should be legislated because plans to reduce emissions across the economy have not yet been sufficiently detailed.
WA's Labor government recently outlined plans to close its coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade and invest almost $4 billion in renewable energy infrastructure.
Greenpeace said the plan put WA "out in front of the country's energy transition", but warned the state needed to move away from major gas developments.
Australian Associated Press
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