The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has urged the Federal Government to accept bipartisan deal on the renewable energy target (RET) and put an end to the year-long stalemate that has compromised the stability of the sector.
The Union has called on the Government to accept the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) proposed target of 33,500 gigawatt-hours of annual renewable energy production by 2020 which was endorsed by the Labor party, business and industry players.
“The stubborn refusal by the Abbott Government to budge on their offer of 32,000 gigawatt hours of annual renewable energy production by 2020 has left a political vacuum. After more than a year of incompetence from the Federal Government, it has been left to Labor and the industry to provide a solution that can deliver stability for the sector, security for jobs, and certainty for the future,” said ETU national secretary Allen Hicks.
“Labor’s offer to take a bipartisan approach to the renewable energy target, in line with the recommendations of the industry, puts the ball firmly in the Federal Government’s court. They can’t blame the Senate cross-bench for causing uncertainty, because there is now a clear offer on the table that could pass through the parliament and also come with industry backing.”
Mr Hicks said that while the proposal was way below the goal of 41,000 gigawatt hours implemented under the previous Labor Government, the industry desperately needed certainty to provide quality and sustainable jobs.
“At no point has the Federal Government been able to present a coherent, scientific case for why a massive reduction to the renewable energy target is needed. They have simply tried to bully the industry into accepting their ideological cuts. Despite this, Labor and the industry have managed to find a compromise that can break the political deadlock that has frozen investment in clean energy projects for more than a year.”
The ETU also welcomed the commitment made by the Labor Party to continue to pursue a more ambitious target if they form government in the future.
“Let’s be clear, if 33,500 is what it takes for the Abbott Government to finally end the uncertainty over the renewable energy target, then so be it, but we still firmly believe this target is far too low,” Mr Hicks said.
“Growth in renewable energy in Australia is not only integral to our future power generation mix, it will provide quality, sustainable jobs while also benefitting our environment. Every day this issue drags on our local industry falls further behind the rest of the world, jobs are lost, and Australian businesses suffer. It’s time to move forward with a clear, bipartisan solution.”