Union calls for RET to protect renewables industry

From the national office of the Electrical Unions of Australia The union representing electrical workers has called for the Prime Minister to demonstrate leadership and implement a long-term renewable energy target following Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s claims there was “no rush” to commit to energy policy certainty.

Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks said Australia was crying out for national leadership on energy policy and urged the Turnbull Government to follow the leads of South Australia and Victoria and introduce an ambitious renewable energy target to protect Australia’s burgeoning renewables industry.

“Renewable energy is a growth industry in Australia, but that growth is vulnerable because a failure of leadership at a federal level. Emerging industries need policy certainty and this deeply divided federal government appears incapable of delivering that.”

Mr Hicks said the government should immediately follow the primary recommendation of the Finkel report and implement a renewable energy target that stretched beyond 2020.

“We saw under Tony Abbott the detrimental effect that an absence of a renewable energy target can have – not just in the renewables space but across all industrial sectors.”

“Mr Turnbull has the capacity to put Abbott’s legacy behind him and act in the interests of consumers, working people, our economy and the environment by putting in place meaningful targets now.”

Mr Hicks said that many of the construction jobs on large-scale renewables projects were providing people with work in areas of record high unemployment. “We’ve seen South Australia devastated by one federal government decision after another,” he said.

“When Joe Hockey banished the auto industry, people were hurt. When the Prime Minister delayed the decision about submarine building, people were hurt. If the government decides to remove the RET and future renewables projects cannot go ahead, people will be hurt once more.”

Mr Hicks said that Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s statement that there was “no rush” to supply policy certainty because the current RET extended to 2020 was misguided. “Large-scale renewables projects take years of careful planning and construction before they are brought online. They need policy certainty and this government isn’t delivering that.”

“If investors can’t be confident that the goalposts won’t move, they simply won’t progress past the blueprint stage."

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