Barton Solar Forum

Federal Member for Fairfax

Media release

When the review of the Renewable Energy Target was announced, the Prime Minister said that the RET was causing ‘pretty significant price pressure in the system’.

The Prime Minister must now admit that he was wrong as his own review of the RET undertaken by Warburton suggests impacts on retail electricity prices appear to be small.

If government is truly concerned about the cost-of-living pressure on Australian families, as it has repeatedly claimed, then it would be announcing today that it has no intention of making any changes to the RET.

Putting solar panels on your roof is a great way to protect your family from higher electricity prices. Millions of households have done it and many more millions want to. The changes to the Small scale Renewable Energy Scheme proposed by the Warburton RET review threaten ordinary Australians from being able to significantly reduce their electricity bills. The review proposed changing the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which helps working Australians put solar PVs and solar hot water on their roofs. If this government is really concerned about cost-of-living pressures on ordinary Australians, it should announce that it is rejecting these changes to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.

Before the election, the Prime Minister promised to cut the cost of living for everyday Australians. Installing solar is one guaranteed way people have to slash their power bills. On average, a household will slash its power bill by 65 per cent when it installs solar. There are two million households that prove this point, and there are millions more that want to get solar. People on low incomes, self-funded retirees, pensioners and community groups have all invested their own money to slash their power bills. Moving to the issue of industry uncertainty, when the government was elected it claimed that Australia was open for business. This stands in stark contrast to the instability that the government has created in the renewable energy sector and the entire market space more broadly. The uncertainty that the RET review has created is causing billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs to be put at risk. The government needs to bring this uncertainty to a swift end by standing by its election promise that there will be no adverse changes to the RET. The renewable energy industry is a thriving sector helping to deliver jobs, economic growth and more sustainable ways of powering our energy needs – while at the same time protecting our planet. Some polls suggest over 90% of Australians want Australia to continue to invest in greener, cleaner energy.

The RET was responsible for creating 24,000 new jobs and if left unchanged will create an additional 18,400 jobs by 2020. If the Prime Minister wants a prosperous and wealthy Australian economy, then we should be using every resource that we can to support this country. If we have a huge amount of untapped resources above our heads, such as sunlight and wind, we should capture it and use it to power our economy.

Clearly the Renewable Energy Target is good for the renewable energy sector, it is good for our economy, it is good for our environment – but most importantly is good for all Australians – because Australians understand the importance of taking care of our planet and want cheaper, greener and more sustainable energy.

The renewable energy target is a real, tangible way for Australia to meet the needs of our people.

And finally my message to you is –‘we are winning’! Tony Abbott and those in Government who wanted to wreck the RET are on the back foot. Since the Palmer United Party made its commitment with former US Vice President Al Gore to save the RET, the debate has turned round.

We recently declared Mr Warbuton’s report was ‘dead on arrival’ and we think many on the Liberal backbench think the same. They don’t want to go to an election being anti- renewables.

The Palmer United Party will block any attempt by the Government to remove or reduce the Renewable Energy Target. This is our commitment to the people of Australia and we will do everything within our power to ensure the target is retained.