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Voters say Turnbull “too slow” on renewables, support state RETs

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A new poll has revealed the scale of the disconnect between the Turnbull government and the Australian public on the subject of renewable energy, revealing that a majority of people – including Coalition voters – think not enough is being done to wean the nation from fossil fuels, switch to renewables, and combat climate change.

The survey, conducted by The Australia Institute, found that 67 per cent of respondents believed Australia was moving “too slowly” into renewable energy, with 35 per cent saying it was “much too slowly.” Only 9 per cent said Australia was moving too fast.

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On the subject of setting a renewable energy target beyond 2020, which the federal government is yet to do, 73 per cent of those surveyed supported setting a new RET for 2030.

Interestingly, support for a more ambitious 2030 RET was highest in Queensland (80%), and was also high among conservative constituents, with 69 per cent of Coalition voters and 66 per cent of One Nation voters supporting a higher 2030 target.TAItable3

But perhaps the most striking findings of the poll came in response to topics on which the Coalition has actively agitated, including state renewable energy targets and the alleged connection between increased renewable energy generation and higher power prices.

A total of 77 per cent of Australians supported the use of state renewable energy targets to provide extra renewables in their state, including 35 per cent who strongly supported this.

In fact, despite consistent strong criticism of state RETs by the Turnbull government – and in particular, of South Australia’s ambitious approach to renewables – the poll found more than 70 per cent of support for state RETs across all gender, state and voting categories, including 72 per cent of Coalition voters.

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And on the subject of electricity prices, which the Coalition has repeatedly claimed are being pushed up by ambitious renewable energy policies, voters also appear to disagree.

The TAI survey found that 45 per cent of respondents think getting rid of the Renewable Energy Target would lead to higher power prices, while only 19 per cent said they would decrease.

Another 55 per cent, meanwhile, rated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as “poor” on renewable energy and climate change, including 39 per cent of Coalition voters, 59 per cent of One Nation voters and 58 per cent of Other/ Independent.  

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  • Brunel

    I want the wages to be set by the states rather than the feds. The minimum wage in Sydney should be $30/hour.

  • trackdaze

    It would seem the broader media is somewhat misrepresenting the divide as 50/50.

  • Steve

    It would be terrific to see a link to the report, or at least a description of sample size etc.

  • Farmer Dave

    Alas, no data from Tasmania. We don’t have a 100% renewable grid, but are closer to it than anywhere else. Additional wind and solar in Tasmania would save water in our hydro system, increasing our electricity supply security and making the transition to 100% renewable much easier. However, our Liberal government does not seem interested, despite our bad electricity supply security scare last summer and autumn. If the results of this poll among Coalition voters on the mainland were duplicated here, then it might give the Tasmanian government a push along.

  • Joe

    I am sure that most people get it that it is Climate Change and Global Warming that necessitates the energy revolution to renewables. The survey results above would seem to confirm my view. So the people have spoken but our Federal Liberal Govt pollies don’t listen so well. Turnbull is “too slow” because he is hamstrung by the deal he made with his own Liberal Party when he took the job of PM off Tony Abbott. Perhaps we should be grateful for the small mercy of the Abbott being ditched as PM. I have just read in my local newspaper, The Manly Daily, that the Abbott has taken off the gloves and given renewables another ‘king hit’. The Abbott claims that the RET is responsible for the huge swing against the Liberals in the Manly by election held last Saturday. Further the Abbott is quoted as saying “the best thing we can do is stop subsidising these windmills because they’re making power less reliable and less affordable.” We know how much the Abbott adores that “little black rock”. I can see it the banner now…Tony 2.0 for PM and “Clean Coal” to the rescue. Perhaps the Abbott could tell the truth on the subsidies that the fossil fuellers enjoy and have enjoyed for decades. Then we can add the cost of “externalites” like damage to public health that our health system picks up the tab, the damage to land and water resources, the increasing costs of mitigation and adaption to Climate Change brought about by the fossil fuellers using our shared environment as a free toilet to dump their emissions. Give me a subsidised windmill any day of the week!