John Grimes, Michele O'Neil, Tim Buckley, Kelly O'Shanassy, Karrina Nolan at the Australian Renewables Industry Summit in Canberra. Image courtesy of Ogilvy

Leading renewable energy businesses, unions, investors and community groups have banded together to push the Australian Government towards committing to a ten year $100 billion Renewable Industry Package in fear of the country being left behind in the global renewable energy race. 

The diverse group of organisations have joined forces at the Australian Renewables Industry Summit in Canberra to call for ambitious new policies that will secure a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity for the nation.

This follows the government’s commitment made in the last Federal Budget to respond to the passage of historic renewable industry policies overseas, including the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States.

The call for a ten-year $100 billion Australian Renewables Industry Package is endorsed by a number of groups including the Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Clean Energy Council, Climate Action Network Australia, Climate Energy Finance, First Nations Clean Energy Network, New Energy Nexus, Rewiring Australia and the Smart Energy Council.

With a global renewables industrial revolution underway, the group says Australia must act with speed and ambition now to fully realise the employment, export, economic, emissions reduction, environmental and social benefits for our nation, businesses and whole community before it is too late. 

This would include funding that is considered to be more ambitious and industrial support packages to build new clean industries, attract greater investment and create thousands of new secure jobs, as what is currently happening under the US$1 trillion Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S.

The group says a decade-long $100 billion new Australian Renewable Industry Package is essential to drive nation-building benefits for Australia.

Elements of the proposed Australian Renewable Industry Package include:

  • Cornerstone funding – includes a minimum of $100 billion in new Federal Government investment and spending over ten years to support products and projects 
  • Built-in community benefits – embed social, labour and environmental benefits as core components of new renewable industries that incorporate free, prior and informed consent from First Nations communities and co-ownership
  • Policy reforms – to leverage cornerstone funding and unlock Australia’s potential, including tax credits and contracts for difference and public sector procurement
  • Mid-term targets – at least $300 billion annual clean export revenue to be achieved by 2035 and approximately 700,000 direct jobs mainly in rural and regional Australia.

Smart Energy Council Executive, John Grimes, said “Australia is standing at a crucial juncture in our nation’s history.”

“Our world-leading resources and renewable energy potential provide the opportunity for Australia to become a driving force in the global green economy while driving down emissions in line with the science to maintain a safe climate.

“But without significantly greater investment, we simply won’t be able to build the industries of the future, reduce emissions, create jobs or strengthen national prosperity and social equity.”

Climate Energy Finance Founder, Tim Buckley, said that the package would re-industrialise the state and provide thousands of job opportunities for Australians. 

“We need a far more integrated and ‘big picture’ approach to encourage greater investment, commensurate with the scale of this massive renewables and critical minerals/metals embodied decarbonisation export opportunity for Australia. 

“A $100 billion package will help re-industrialise the nation, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, diversify our export base and revenue streams as well as increase local value-added production, secure supply chains and develop sovereign manufacturing capabilities. 

This is climate policy as economic policy as national security policy – in the 21st century, these are fundamentally linked.”

Featured image: John Grimes, Michele O’Neil, Tim Buckley, Kelly O’Shanassy, Karrina Nolan at the Australian Renewables Industry Summit in Canberra. Image courtesy of Ogilvy

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