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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wills MP Kelvin Thomson goes into bat for ARENA and renewable energy

This original article was first published at Climate Action Moreland.

Federal MP for Wills, Kelvin Thomson spoke in the second reading debate for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014 on 28 August 2014 defending the need to maintain low carbon investment support and the Renewable Energy Target.

Thomson highlighted that ARENA has supported more than 190 renewable energy projects, with more than $1.5 billion in private sector investment. An equal number of renewable energy projects is in the pipeline which might draw up to $5 billion in private sector funding. Rural and regional areas of Australia have benefited through job creation with about 70 per cent of projects in rural and regional areas.

"Experience from renewable energy markets overseas has shown that stable, long-term policy support provides the renewable energy industry with the required incentives to expand the renewable energy market. A clear commitment from the federal government on the policy framework surrounding renewable energy in Australia, such as the renewable energy target, provides the long-term certainty needed to encourage the growth of Australia's renewable energy industry."

Globally 144 countries have renewable energy targets in place with 138 support policies, up from 138 & 127 in 2012, while Australia is going backwards abolishing carbon pricing and in winding back renewable energy programs

He attacked the Government for having a "predetermined view of climate change" and that they "do not believe in it—full stop."

On the Warburton review of the Renewable Energy Target:

"The tragedy of the removal of RET is that it will jeopardise around one per cent of GDP in committed capital investment. It is regrettable that we have got a government that is more concerned with the ideological outcome or the vested interest than it is with a sound and visionary policy, which is what the renewable energy target is. This is real sovereign risk, not that bogus sovereign risk levelled at the mining tax or recently by the trade minister when he was talking about the budget in the Senate." Thomson said.

In concluding his sppeech in the debate, Thomson said: "It is high time the Liberal government stopped undermining and white-anting renewable energy. Australia has what it takes to be leading the race in developing a renewable energy industry: world-class renewable energy resources, a skilled workforce and a proud history of innovation. We need to exploit this comparative advantage and embrace the huge opportunities that our renewable energy provides; otherwise we risk falling behind. The community is calling for it, business is ready to invest and we and future generations will benefit from this investment."

Watch Kelvin Thomson's speech here:

Adam Bandt, the Greens member for the seat of Melbourne, also spoke in the same debate on why the government shouldn't scrap ARENA. You can Watch his contribution below:

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