The Abbott Government’s plans to reduce the Renewable Energy Target by 40 per cent will costs thousands of Australian jobs and see small businesses in the sector close.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Climate Change Minister Mark Butler today visited IXL Solar in Adelaide, a small business that manufactures steel structures for solar panels and employs more than 200 people. These jobs and the future positions IXL planned to create are now in jeopardy as Tony Abbott pursues a significant cut in the Renewable Energy Target and continues to create uncertainty in the sector.
In 2012, Geelong-based parent company IXL established IXL Solar in Adelaide in an effort to diversify its business from automotive manufacturing with the support of the Labor Government’s Automotive New Markets Program. The company uses Australian steel to manufacture solar panel frames for NSW’s Solar Flagships Program.
“This business is a perfect example of the opportunities presented through the emergence of the renewable energy industry in Australia,” Mr Shorten said.
“Presented with a downturn in car manufacturing, IXL was able to capitalise on the growth in solar energy to retrain its workers and save hundreds of jobs.”
“All of this is at risk due to Tony Abbott’s ideological attack on renewable energy.”
During Labor’s time in government, jobs in the renewable energy sector tripled and Australia was ranked in the top most attractive places to invest, alongside the US, China and Germany.
The Abbott Government’s RET Review and its subsequent negative rhetoric about renewable energy has seen investment in Australia stalled, cost jobs and created uncertainty for small businesses like IXL.
“Renewable energy is an industry of the future. Labor recognised this in 2007 and established the right policy structure to see the industry flourish in Australia,” Mr Butler said.
“Now businesses like IXL, which is providing hope for the northern suburbs of Adelaide in the lead up to the departure of the car manufacturing industry, is receiving just as much support from Tony Abbott as Holden did: none.”
Labor believes a strong renewable energy sector will keep downward pressure on power prices, support new clean energy jobs through continued investment and contribute to reducing Australia’s carbon emissions.
The Abbott Government destroyed bipartisan support for the RET by breaking its election commitment and trying to reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.
Labor has again reiterated its willingness to explore every opportunity to re-establish bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target.
However, Labor will not stand by and watch billions of dollars in investment in the Australian renewable energy sector, along with thousands of jobs, go overseas because of cuts to the target.
Tony Abbott has no vision for Australia’s future and his Government fails to understand the economic and environmental benefits of a strong renewable energy industry in Australia.
MONDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2014
MEDIA CONTACTS: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
JO MEEHAN (BUTLER) 0408 803 428
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