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Abbott's still sniping on renewables



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MARK BUTLER MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE

ABBOTT’S STILL SNIPING ON RENEWABLES

The Australian people haven’t forgotten what happened last time Tony Abbott intervened over climate change and energy policy. The then leader of the Liberal Party - our current Prime Minister - lost his leadership. It’s becoming quite obvious Abbott would like history to repeat itself.

Yet it seems Prime Minister Turnbull has learned his lesson. These days Prime Minister Turnbull will bow to the extreme right of his part like Tony Abbott and Cory Bernardi every time, just like he did on an emission intensity scheme late last year.

Tony Abbot’s piece today in The Australian is a continuation of his demonisation of renewables. His proposal to ditch the negotiated agreements on the renewable energy target (RET) shows how little the former Prime Minister’s word is worth.

Abbott’s and the Liberal party's war on renewables is not only fuelled by lies but it is hurting Australia’s future. It is causing investor uncertainty, costing Australian jobs, huge investment opportunities and jeopardising energy security.

Heavy industry is exempt from the RET, making Abbott’s claim that the RET will close heavy manufacturing ridiculous.

Even if we put the imperative to cut pollution to one side, our ageing electricity generation fleet needs to be replaced. Almost three quarters of Australia’s thermal fleet of power stations are operating beyond their design life.

Without a sensible energy policy that supports new investment and delivers a just transition for workers and communities, all Australians will pay the price in higher prices, less reliability and chaotic closures that devastate entire communities.

There is a huge wave of investment in renewable energy worldwide. China has committed to investing $360 billion on renewable energy. And the average capital costs of constructing new wind, solar PV and ocean/tidal generators is increasingly competitive.

This government is simply not capable of delivering sensible energy policy, and every Australian is paying the price in higher bills, less reliability and higher pollution.

SATURDAY, 14 JANUARY 2017

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