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Panic stations



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THE HON MARK BUTLER MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND WATER MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE

PANIC STATIONS

After years of talking down renewable energy, the Liberals have reportedly taken some level of interest in the sector. But is it all smoke and mirrors?

All we have seen in today’s announcement regarding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is Malcolm Turnbull panicking and trying to make his Government look different to Tony Abbott's, but he has failed again.

There is no money - the Government is just taking existing money from one renewable energy agency and giving it to another. It's a money shift. The sleight of hand here is what will actually happen to ARENA's current funding?

There doesn't appear to be any meaningful change to the funding of CEFC or the conditions under which it operates, but potentially a big shift in how ARENA can distribute funding.

Labor is also concerned about what these changes mean for ARENA's ability to provide capital funding which is vital for the sector.

Just last Thursday, the environment minister told Fran Kelly it was still his government's policy to abolish ARENA.

And like Treasurer he’s now been tangled up in Mr Turnbull’s panic.

Let’s be clear, the legislation to abolish the CEFC is still in the Parliament and the Government still has a $1.3 billion cut to ARENA in its Budget.

At the same time, Malcolm Turnbull and Greg Hunt are hitting renewables at the CSIRO while giving money for research into 'health effects of wind farms'.

Today’s announcement is window dressing designed to cover for the fact that Turnbull supports Tony Abbott's direct action policy, something he called fiscal recklessness on a grand scale.

Malcolm Turnbull is a sell out on renewable energy just like he is on climate change.

We know from years of listening to the Government bagging the CEFC and ARENA that they don't support it and this is a desperate attempt to reclaim, some credibility in a sector they haven't just ignored, but torn to pieces.

In that same period, while the rest of the world has added 2 million jobs in renewable energy, Australia has gone backwards and lost over 2,000 jobs in renewables.

How can we trust them? No new ideas, no new money, just smoke and mirrors.

WEDNESDAY, 23 MARCH 2016

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