Labor delivers its pitch to fix Australia’s energy market

Last week the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced the energy policy Labor will take into next year’s Federal Election.

Mr Shorten pledged $15 billion to transform Australia into a renewable energy “powerhouse” in a plan that includes expanding funding for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, facilitating investment in targeted interconnectors and support for the Coalition’s dumped National Energy Guarantee.

“Our plan is simply about obtaining the best value from existing and new energy resources, while delivering least cost, most reliable energy, to the consumers,” Mr Shorten said in a speech in Sydney announcing the plan.

According to National Farmers’ Federation’s CEO Tony Mahar, farmers need a policy that addresses reliability, sustainability and affordability and allows our industry to grow.

“Labor’s plan lays out a series of investment initiatives that identify and address a number of the key issues for an economy transitioning to a renewable energy base,” he said.

The Labor Government is aiming to reach a 45 per cent emissions reduction and 50 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 with Mr Shorten stating that Labor would “invest in projects and underwrite contracts for clean power generation, as well as firming technologies like storage and gas.”

This is a significant increase in targets in comparison to the Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee emissions reduction target of 26 per cent by 2030 – which is aligned with the Paris Agreement obligations.

How the Labor Government plans to transition from coal to renewable energy is where the big question mark lies.

Bill Shorten outlines Renewable Energy Policies in Canberra. Photo: Getty images.

While speaking on ABC Radio, Energy Minister Angus Taylor said that the Oppositions 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 would “be a wrecking ball through the economy”.

Mr Mahar also acknowledged that Labor’s plan to transition to renewable energy set significantly higher targets than the Coalition’s previous National Energy Guarantee proposal.

“A 45% emissions reduction target and 50% renewable energy are at the high end and we need to ensure they do not have a perverse impact on the economy,” he said.

The farm sector is a price taker and energy consumers risk being adversely affected by over ambitious aspirations.

The NFF’s 2030 Roadmap aims to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030, while lowering emissions and transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

“Significant impacts from high energy costs, unreliability or burdens from over ambitious emissions reduction targets not implemented in the correct way, may prevent Australian farmers from reaching our $100 billion vision,” Mr Mahar said.

Click here for Labor’s full video explaining the policy they’ll take to next year’s election.

Andrea Martinello

Andrea Martinello

Andrea is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

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