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Renewables on the backburner again: unambitious target must be lifted.

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Christine Milne

Australian Senate Australian Greens Senators for Tasmania

media release

Renewables on the backburner again; Unambitious target must be lifted

Hobart, Wednesday 2 July 2008 The Rudd Government’s unambitious renewable energy target is still too important to be delayed for another 12 months, Australian Greens climate change spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, said today.

Senator Milne said, “It beggars belief that, with scientific warnings getting more urgent each day, Minister Wong thinks it would be OK to delay the increased renewable energy target for another 12 months.

“If the COAG process Minister Wong is leading is set to be concluded in October, that leaves four Parliamentary sitting weeks for the legislation to be passed by the end of this year. If the Minister truly understood the urgency of climate change, she would make the effort to ensure that timeline was met.

“A 12 month delay in lifting the target will take even more wind out of the sails of the Australian renewables sector, already reeling after being swept aside in the Rudd Government’s first budget.

“The 20% renewable energy target that looked so strong last year in the context of the Howard Government’s 2% target is now looking decidedly unambitious. Global experience is showing that, with the right effort, we could go much further towards half of Australia’s electricity coming from renewables in the next decade.

“In order to achieve that kind of ambitious target, the Government would have to back up the renewable energy target with a significant boost to research and development funding, as well as sensible, world-leading policies such as a feed-in law which would guarantee a market for all renewable energy technologies at guaranteed prices for 20 years.

“The Private Member’s Bill for a feed-in law that I introduced last month, designed to be compatible with MRET, has now been referred to a Senate Inquiry for examination. Minister Wong would do well to pay close attention to the evidence the Inquiry will hear and look at the synergies between a renewable energy target and a feed-in law.

“Whichever of her two almost identical options Minister Wong and her colleagues choose, they must get their act together and move fast on the legislation if Australia is to ride the wave of renewable energy that is moving across the globe and not get swamped by it as it passes us by.”

Contact: Tim Hollo on 0437 587 562