The internal bickering between coalition factions over the future of Australia’s renewable energy target (RET) has the capacity for disastrous ramifications if the anti-renewables argument triumphs, the union representing Australia’s energy sector has warned.
Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks said on Monday that Australians desperately needed the work that would be created by a surging renewables industry over future decades.
“Modelling shows that as many as 28,000 full-time positions are at risk by 2030 if Turnbull caves to the far right and walks back his renewables commitment,” he said, citing Ernst and Young research commissioned by the Climate Council.
“Research has shown that many of these jobs are going to be created in areas that desperately need them, like South Australia.”
“At a time when foreign-owned companies like Alinta and Engie, owners of the Port Augusta and Hazelwood power stations, are pulling the strings in Australia’s energy sector and shutting people out of work, we need a government that will support and nurture our energy future, not one that is bickering and creating uncertainty for investors.”
“A healthy renewables sector and a properly planned and managed transition will see more jobs created, and further careers opportunities for those who are affected by the shift to renewables.”
Mr Hicks’ comments come after reports in the Australian that a far-right faction within the government was demanding that Mr Turnbull axe Australia’s commitment to renewable energy because of shifting US policy.
“This is Abbott, Bernardi and Christensen trying to fly the plane from the cargo hold where they’ve been stashed so voters don’t have to look at them,” Mr Hicks said.
“And they think they can get away with it because they’ve used conservative hysteria about renewable energy to roll Malcolm once before.”
“Australians know the future of our energy is renewable. If Turnbull axes the RET he’ll bring the sector to a standstill and we’ll miss out on the jobs and opportunities that would otherwise be created.”
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