04 June 2015

Speech – Renewable Energy Target vital for jobs

I rise to speak about our government’s very strong commitment to renewable energy. I did not have an opportunity to speak on the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2015, but I just want to record in this chamber my very strong support for the bill and the measures that are being put in place to deliver a very strong future for the renewable energy industry.

In my electorate of Corangamite, there are many, many people who support solar, who support wind and who support a renewable energy future, so I am very, very pleased that the amendments that were put forward and of course have been passed by the House of Representatives, the lower house, will legislate a large-scale renewable energy target of 33,000 gigawatt hours by 2020. This will result in more than 23.5 per cent of Australia’s electricity being derived from renewable sources by 2020. Of course, there will be no change to household solar—what is known as the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. I am very pleased that the government and the opposition will work cooperatively on a bipartisan basis to resolve any issues which may arise with the operation of the RET through to 2020.

I have been, as I mentioned, a very strong advocate for a strong, effective, renewable energy target. It is certainly terrific to see this matter resolved. I am certainly very pleased that there will be a 100 per cent exemption for emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries from the costs associated with the RET. This protects industry, and it protects jobs. The bill will also increase support for all emissions-intensive trade-exposed activities for full exemption from all RET costs. Of course, as we know, we need all the support we can give to those very important industries.

As highlighted in our energy white paper, Australia has an oversupply of generation capacity, and some of that is aged. This is due to a number of factors: declining activity in the industrial sector, increasing energy efficiency and strong growth in rooftop solar. I think the compromise position that has been reached of 33,000 gigawatt hours directly addresses these issues. It protects jobs, and it provides a very sound future for the renewable energy industry.

4 June 2015