Abbott govt's RET cut fails the community: Look to the states for renewable energy leadership

Late last night, the Abbott government's push to cut the Renewable Energy Target -- the central plank of national renewable energy policy -- passed the Senate.

"The Prime Minister's decision to slash the national Renewable Energy Target by 20 per cent means 3,680 less jobs by 2020," said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth's renewable energy spokesperson.

"The cut to the RET is bad news for those who support jobs, investment, and action on climate change"

The amended Renewable Energy Target legislation:

  • Cuts the amount of renewable energy by 20% - from 41,000 to 33,000 GWh by 2020. 

  • Exempts emissions-intensive industries such as aluminium smelting from the scheme. 

  • Controversially classifies burning native forests as "renewable energy."

In addition, a deal between the Abbott government and cross-bench senators opposed to wind energy will see stringent national regulation imposed on the wind energy sector, including the widely-mocked proposal for a "wind commissioner."

Friends of the Earth say the Abbott government's backwards step means that state and territory governments will have to lead on renewables.

"The Abbott government has failed the community on renewable energy. Australians will be looking at the states to show leadership," said Ewbank.

"The ACT has a target of 90 per cent renewables by 2020. South Australia is aiming for 50 per cent by 2025. And Queensland has expressed a commitment to 50 per cent by 2030. These policies will grow renewables and create jobs."

In May the Daniel Andrews government committed to reinstate a Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET)--an measure long-championed by Friends of the Earth.  

"A Victorian Renewable Energy Target will provide a safety-net for the clean energy sector that has been savaged by the Federal government," explained Leigh Ewbank.

The Labor government first introduced Victoria’s previous state Renewable Energy Target in the mid-2000s. The scheme unleashed billions of dollars of investment in Victoria and made the state a national leader on renewable energy.

VRET will build on the Andrews government's positive first steps on wind energy.

 “Victoria used to be a national leader in renewable energy. This position was lost under the state and federal Coalition governments.”

The Andrews government has already breathed new life into the wind energy sector through removing the worst parts of the Baillieu government's anti-wind laws.”

“The commitment to a VRET and a renewable energy action plan builds on that leadership.”


Leigh Ewbank

0406 316 176


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