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Howard Government cannot be trusted on renewable energy.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Peter Garrett MP

Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Environment

Senator Chris Evans Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy

23 September 2007

HOWARD GOVERNMENT CANNOT BE TRUSTED ON RENEWABLE ENERGY

Mr Howard’s announcement today is a step backwards for renewable energy in Australia.

Australians are entitled to be cynical about today's energy announcement. The so-called clean energy target is simply a rationalisation of existing schemes and opens the renewable energy target to nuclear power.

30,000 GWh of clean energy by 2020 represents business as usual under existing Commonwealth and state schemes as well as those currently in the pipeline. The states have been setting targets for renewable energy in the absence of leadership from Mr Howard. While consolidation is desirable, this is just piggybacking on the hard work of State Labor Governments.

Nuclear power has not been ruled out of the target and the 30,000 GW target may actually mean less renewable energy is produced.

The Howard Government has an appalling record on renewable energy and cannot be trusted to deliver on this commitment. What matters is not what promises are made weeks before an election, but what the government has done over the past eleven years.

Mr Howard has repeatedly rejected calls to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), including its own 2003 MRET review.

This has cost Australian jobs and has left our renewable energy market to flounder in uncertainty.

A vibrant renewable industry will be critical in meeting the challenge of climate change.

Federal Labor has a long standing commitment to substantially increase MRET to drive the development of the renewable sector.

Labor believes Australia’s renewable sector is well placed to exploit a global market that will be worth US$750 billion by 2016 and to help deliver a 60 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Labor’s comprehensive plan to tackle the climate crisis through a clean energy revolution includes ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, substantially increasing the renewable energy target, a $500 m clean coal initiative, support to households for green home improvements and phasing out greenhouse intensive hot water systems.

Only Labor can be trusted to deliver clean and renewable energy at the scale required to tackle climate change.

For further information please contact Ryan Heath 0449 141 398

Notes:

Examples of Australian renewables companies who have voted with their feet are:

• The clean energy company Roaring Forties announced in 2006 that $750 million of wind investments would be stalled due to the Australian Government’s failure to increase its renewable energy target beyond the current level.

• In August 2006, Vestas Nacelle announced it would close its wind turbine assembly plant in northern Tasmania, costing 100 jobs.

• In February 2007, Pacific Hydro announced it was investing $500 million in Brazil because Australia renewable energy projects had been stalled by the Government's refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol.

• In March 2007, the Australian company Global Renewables announced a $5billion deal in the UK to cut greenhouse pollution, because they could not get support for their technology here in Australia.

• In August 2007, Vestas announced that its wind blade factory in Portland, Victoria, would close in December 2007, with the loss of 130 jobs, because "further investment cannot be viable in current market conditions".