The thing most of the 21,000 people working in the renewable energy industry want in their Christmas stocking this year is hope that they will still have a job in 2015.
The federal government’s proposal to slash Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) is bad news not only for the tradies that install solar panels, the wind power technicians and engineers but for construction workers, backhoe operators, truck drivers and the thousands of people who provide valuable services to the renewable energy sector in Australia.
The RET is the policy that supports all these jobs, and it has been supported by all major political parties since it was introduced in 2001. While the government committed to the current policy in the lead-up to the last election, it has provided no credible reason why it needs to be cut – particularly when more than 80 per cent of the country wants more renewable energy rather than less. And cutting the policy will also increase our reliance on high cost gas energy and lead to higher power prices.
So while you are busily decking your halls or decorating your tree, spare a thought for these people in regional and rural parts of the country who will be doing their best to forget their troubles over the festive season.
They want a job supporting renewable energy, but if PM Tony Abbott gets his way they might end up with a lump of coal instead.
Kane Thornton, CEO, Clean Energy Council