Local MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones joined Federal Labor today in backing the Clean Energy Council’s position on the Renewable Energy Target to protect Australia’s renewable energy future.
Renewable energy is vital to the region’s future economic development and should only grow stronger with the right policies in place.
In 2013 a team of 33 students from the University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra won the Solar Decathlon in Datong, China by designing, building and operating the ‘The Illawarra Flame’, a retrofitted Australian fibro house.
This innovative house was built to be a Net Zero Energy home, meaning that it generated more energy than it consumes.
In 2012 the then Gillard Government dedicated some $2.3 million to BlueScope Steel’s $5 million development of a prototype building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system, which provides for the simultaneous installation of roofing and solar technology that can generate energy for the electricity grid.
This type of innovation has the capacity to create new employment opportunities in the region and helped make Australia a world leader in BIPV development.
Sharon Bird said that the Abbott Government’s dishonesty and incompetence has put renewable energy jobs and investment at risk.
“The Abbott Government’s has almost destroyed Australia's renewable energy industry. Before the election Tony Abbott promised bipartisan support for Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.
“But ever since, the Government has undermined renewable energy industry and the next generation of Australia jobs. Every day the uncertainty continues, projects are shelved and potentially jobs in Wollongong and the Illawarra region are lost.”
Since Tony Abbott was elected, investment in Australia's renewable energy industry has fallen 88 per cent, while around the world investment rose by 16 per cent.
By 2013, Australia was rated one of the four most attractive places to invest in renewable energy, alongside China, the US and Germany. Under Tony Abbott, it has now dropped to tenth.
Stephen Jones said that Labor had always been guided by the science when it comes to tackling climate change.
“Labor established Australia's Renewable Energy Target to drive investment in clean energy alternatives. And it worked. Under Labor, renewable energy jobs tripled, wind power tripled, homes with rooftop solar panels soared and pollution levels started to reduce.”
“We will continue working with the experts to finalise our goals for the industry beyond 2020 and continue Labor’s strong record in renewable energy. There is just too much to lose; we can’t afford to follow Tony Abbott’s head-in-the-sand approach on the future of energy generation and consumption in Australia.”