Morrison's weak plans for climate and energy lack direction, action and maths

Nicholas McCallum

MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday, 28 February 2019

Prime Minster Scott Morrison is trying to convince Australians the Liberal Party is ready to act on climate and energy but his announcements are lacking on maths and take us down the same path of for-profit power.

The Morrison Government's Snowy Hydro 2.0 plan, along with Tasmania's “Battery of the Nation” and the 1200MW Mariana to the Mainland will cost Australians $730 million if we follow the Liberals' shallow 26-28% emissions reduction target.

Electrical Trades Union National Secretary Allen Hicks said with no firm support for renewables to drive pumped-hydro projects, the Liberal Party reveals its energy plans are a half-hearted, half-baked attempt to fill a decade-old policy blackhole. 

“Why would anyone believe Morrison and the Liberals have the right plan this time when they can't even make the economics stack-up,” Mr Hicks said.

“Morrison talks about keeping the lights on but his government is trying to keep Australians in the dark with his poor economic numbers.

“More pumped hydro for Snowy and Tassie and a second inter-connector to the Mainland will make economic sense only if combined with more wind and solar power and ambitious emissions reductions targets exceeding 50% while being 100% owned and operated by the public.

“The difference between the Liberals and Labor is night and day. Today we see NSW Labor committed to 100% renewables for government by 2050 and creating a state-owned renewable energy company in addition to the 7GW of new renewables by 2030.

“Compare that to Morrison and Angus Taylor, making more inadequate plans for Australia's climate and energy future so they don't offend their anti-science, fact-denying colleagues in the Liberal Party's hard-right.

“The maths doesn’t stack up on the Liberal Government's plans because they don't want to face the fact we need to transition away from the carbon-intensive economy.”    

Mr Hicks said the proof was in Morrison's rebranded Emissions Reduction Fund that is simply more taxpayer-funded welfare for big polluters, as are plans for underwriting new coal-fire projects with taxpayers' money.

“Even considering protecting new coal plants from a possible carbon tax shows the Liberals are avoiding the real issues and are putting party donor interests above the people of Australia's by avoiding action on climate change.”

The ETU National Secretary urged the Liberal Party to come clean on the business case and plans for ownership of the network that would support Snowy 2.0 and pumped hydro that will feed the Tasmanian inter-connector.

“Morrison announced his half-baked plan for a feasibility study into building a second a second Tasmanian inter-connector with a tiny $56 million,” Mr Hicks said.

“As CEPU Tasmania pointed out, that's only 2% of the estimated $1.5 billion required for project.

“Australians deserve to know whether their power will be owned by them, or will the Liberals make taxpayers pay for it only to sell it off at low prices to foreign governments and corporations.”

It's the ETU's position that energy is an essential service and taxpayer investments in future large-scale energy projects should be built, operated and owned by Australians, for Australians – not corporate profits.

Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum

0419 499 886, [email protected]

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