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Renewables will create “real jobs”, says Shorten

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Federal Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has taken a swipe at his opposite number in his National Press Club address, noting that a “proper renewable energy policy” would create “real jobs” for Australians.

“There are real jobs, not just jobs for the scientists, but jobs for blue collar workers, jobs for engineers, jobs for designers,” Shorten said in his speech on Tuesday, one day before the Prime Minister is to take the same stage.

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Shorten, whose NPC address focused on the issue of jobs, has faced heavy criticism from the Turnbull government and the Conservative press for his party’s proposed target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, in contrast with the Coalition’s dialled down target of 23 per cent by 2020.

In its editorial on Tuesday, The Australian Financial Review neatly summed up this point of view by describing Labor’s 50 per cent RET as a “policy joke that will lumber Australians with high power prices and a lack of baseload electricity.”

This argument, however, has been skewered by many independent analysts who warn that a failure to act on climate change and to decarbonise the economy will incur a much greater cost, both economic and environmental.

Shorten, in his speech, made a similar point. “There is a bigger bill to pay if we don’t act on climate change,” he said. “We will hold our ground on climate change. He [Turnbull] is about protecting his job.”

But Shorten was short on detail about the 50 per cent target, and was criticised by some media outlets for avoiding mention of it, altogether, which the Murdoch papers chose to interpret as a sign that he was backing away from the policy.

“Let’s have a look at the opportunity cost of not acting on climate change: more drought, more … negative impact on our tourism industries, more extreme weather events,” Shorten said.

“If we don’t take action on renewable energy, the costs will increase anyway, so let’s … not compare one proposition with a vacuum, because it’s not going to be a vacuum if we do nothing.”

Malcolm Turnbull, who, as we mentioned already, is fronting the National Press Club tomorrow, has reportedly responded to Shorten’s speech by telling Sky News that “Labor does not have one policy which will create one job”.  

  • Ken Dyer

    It is about time that this discussion started to differentiate between the Labour Party and the Federal Government do- nothings (or Trump back to the future energy plans). Regardless of what Turnbull says, the only industry today that is
    creating jobs in multiples of hundreds is the renewable energy industry.

    When are the Murdoch press going to wake up that the so called 50% target is irrelevant, and will be met and exceeded, not by the Federal Government but by waves of State Labor governments, the ever decreasing cost of domestic solar PV, the ever decreasing costs of battery, the ever increasing technology advances in renewable technologies and the ever increasing costs of fossil fuels.

    The renewable energy revolution cannot be reversed – it is bigger than the Industrial Revolution, but the luddites are now the Murdoch press, the Federal Liberal Government, and further afield the billionaires of the Trump kakocracy.

    • Ren Stimpy

      “kakocracy” hahaha. Let’s hope in 4 years they become a fuckoffracy.

  • solarguy

    What Labor has to do is hammer home the RE big picture to the people, give detail on the goal, which has been greatly lacking even before the election.

    • Brian Tehan

      I agree. Renewables and the jobs and economic activity that it generates is the easiest way to sell climate change mitigation. Of course, we also need to reduce our consumption, by increasing energy efficiency, particularly building efficiency.

  • davidb98

    Electricity prices will increase more if we dont rapidly transition to renewables
    Witness escalated gas prices
    Coal miners will screw any residual customers as hard as they can
    Australias aging power stations will be less reliable

    Transmission and distribution networks builders will be in panic to make max profits as more renewable power sources are distributed
    Coal lobbyists will spend more and more on MPs to avoid renewables votes

  • Island fisher

    The attack on the RE industry by the LNP/IPA party has already cost 3000 jobs, this from a supposed government of jobs jobs jobs

    • Brunel

      And they keep printing 457 visas like mad to ensure the jobs that remain are do not go to Aussies.

  • Ian

    Will someone please whisper in Bill Shorten’s ear the words “home solar battery subsidy” , A policy such as this will trump the Trumpites. Not every battle is won with a full frontal attack, he could out-flank Turnbull’s FF old-school with this Renewables-enabling technology without alienating the incumbent FF power companies. The renewables target is useful from a RET subsidy scheme, but to some extent it is a type of prediction of what will already happen regardless of any government action or inaction.

    Putting some government money into domestic solar storage will leverage a large sum of citizens’ money. The country would then have significant amounts of distributed storage capacity on the grid for many different stabilising functions. This would create an environment where more renewables can be constructed without immediately compromising the existing FF generators. Win win for everybody.

    • Ian

      We should listen to the Coalition’s bleating: ” renewables, intermittent, unreliable, baseload ” and reply” batteries, free wind, free sunshine, batteries, reliability, batteries.”

    • Barri Mundee

      A subsidy for adoption of battery storage would be welcome for the reasons you outline. It was a useful way to kick start domestic solar so this will work also.

  • Radbug

    Wait until graphene ribbons replace silver, then the industry will really take off. That innovation will usher in solar methanol and the giant desert PV arrays.

  • Brunel

    There must be a $50k/year fee for each 457 visa to make sure the jobs go to Aussies.

    It is way too cheap to get a 457 visa.