Thousands of Renewable Energy Jobs at Risk
13 July 2015 at 12:22 pm
A “war” on renewable energy by the Abbott Government could endanger thousands of jobs, according to the Opposition.
Shadow Minister for Environment, Mark Butler, said that a letter for Environment Minister Greg Hunt to Senate crossbenchers informing them that the Government instructed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop investing in wind farms “may only have scratched the surface” on future damage.
“Labor understands the Finance Minister has issued a second revision to the CEFC investment mandate and that the ban on investing in windfarms has been extended to solar energy, including rooftop solar,” Butler said.
“These proposed changes go well beyond Tony Abbott's opposition to the aesthetic values of wind farms – it’s a wholesale attack on renewable energy.
“Tony Abbott is broadening his assault on renewable energy technologies putting thousands of Australian jobs and billions of dollars in investment at even further risk.”
Butler said the Government was “effectively blood-letting” the CEFC since it had been unable to abolish it.
“In the 2013-2014 financial year, the CEFC invested $900 million in Australian renewable energy projects, attracting an additional $3 billion in private investment. These projects have employed thousands of people, billions of dollars of investment and supported the development of Australia's renewable energy industry.” he said.
In his letter to crossbenchers, Hunt confirmed that the Government would be looking closely at the potential health impacts of wind farms.
He said the Government would be appointing a National Wind Farm Commissioner “to resolve complaints from concerned community residents about the operations of wind turbine facilities”.
On Twitter Hunt attempted to make the Government’s objective clear.
“I fully support the changes to the CEFC investment mandate and any suggestion to the contrary is categorically wrong. Claims that I have been ‘angered’ are a complete, absolute and utter fabrication,” he said.
“I’ve been repeatedly critical of the CEFC investing taxpayer funds in projects such as existing wind farms, rather than focusing on solar and emerging technologies. Our policy is to abolish the CEFC but in the meantime it should focus on solar and emerging technologies as was originally intended.”