Warburton Renewable Energy Target Review "out of touch" and a disaster for jobs

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 August 2014

Friends of the Earth say the Warburton review of the Renewable Energy Target ignores the aspirations of Australians and would be a disaster for jobs and investment.

The Warburton Review has made two key recommendations that will devastate Australia’s renewable energy sector.

The Review recommends the Abbott government:

  1. Limit the Renewable Energy Target to new entrants – which is effective to the immediate abolition of the scheme.
  2. Drastically cut the fixed 41-terawatt-hour Renewable Energy Target and set yearly targets based on forecast electricity demand – which will kill the renewable energy sector through uncertainty. 

“This sham review recommends the Abbott government cut the Renewable Energy Target by 100 per cent,” said Friends of the Earth renewable energy spokesperson, Leigh Ewbank.

“Australians will be shocked that there are no options to increase the RET, only options to axe it.”

The Warburton Review's recommendations will kill off thousands of jobs and billions worth of investment in the Australian economy. 

Research commissioned by the Clean Energy Council shows the 41-terawatt-hour Renewable Energy Target would unleash $14.5 billion worth of investment and create more than 18,000 jobs.  

“The renewable energy sector promises thousands of jobs at a time when national unemployment has hit a 12-year high. The Warburton review’s recommendations amount to economic vandalism,” said Leigh Ewbank.

“If the Abbott government will break two election promises if it acts on recommendations to cut the Renewable Energy Target. Members of the government promised to keep the Renewable Energy Target in tact and create two million new jobs.”

In April, Friends of the Earth invited Dick Warburton on a fact-finding RET Review Road Trip to meet with communities affected by fossil fuels or benefitting from renewables. Dick Warburton refused the invite. 

“The Warburton review is out of touch with the views of Australians. It ignores the community’s aspirations for a clean energy future,” said Leigh Ewbank.

Polling shows 73 per cent of Australians think the Renewable Energy Target target is ‘about right’ or ‘not high enough’. For Coalition voters the number is 64 per cent. A recent poll in The Australian found 95 per cent of respondents thought renewable energy was a “good idea.”

The Abbott government’s posturing to weaken the Renewable Energy Target puts a sharper focus on state government plans for renewable energy.

"With a Victorian state election on the horizon, voters want to know what plans the major parties have to secure renewable energy jobs and investment," said Leigh Ewbank.

“With PM Abbott threatening to axe the Renewable Energy Target, Victoria needs an insurance policy. Reactivating the Victorian Renewable Energy Target will create jobs and unleash investment, which is something all political parties can support.”

Leigh Ewbank

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