Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has repeated his controversial comments about wind farms, saying again that he is “appalled” by the sight of wind turbines in “beautiful landscapes”.
Hockey made his original comments in a radio interview with radio shock jock and anti-wind campaigner Alan Jones. “If I can be a little indulgent, I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive,” he said in May.
Asked at a Bloomberg summit in Sydney on Tuesday if he would repeat those comments, Hockey said: “Yes, I would.”
“Renewable energy is hugely important, it’s a part of the fabric of development of a diverse energy supply right around the world. We have some beautiful landscapes in Australia, and frankly, putting up those towers is just to me, quite appalling in those places.
“I drive from Sydney to Canberra …. to go to parliament, and I just look at those wind turbines around Lake George and I am just appalled ….
“And for all the greenies in the audience, if they put a huge coal fired power station up as well, I would be equally appalled.”
(Editor’s note: The audience at the Bloomberg economics summit was all men and women in suits, looking to invest a lot money. There were the heads of at least three wind farm companies, one of whom presumably asked the question).
Hockey’s comments come as the Abbott government considers what to do with the Warburton review of the renewable energy target. Although the review found that the RET was working well, and would deliver lower prices to consumers, and create jobs, the review recommended the target be effectively stopped to new entrants, or wound back considerably.
Either way, the renewable energy industry says the impact would be devastating. The industry, however, has enlisted the support of the Labor Party, which says it will resist major changes to the RET and wants the government to discard the Warburton review.
Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler said Hockey’s comments are the latest evidence the Abbott Government is looking to destroy the Renewable Energy Target.
“Tony Abbott is still sitting on the Warburton Review which recommends scrapping or significantly winding back the RET, despite the report showing that the RET will drive down electricity prices in the long term,” Butler said.
“Joe Hockey is effectively asking people to pay higher power prices because he doesn’t like the look of wind turbines.
Labor leader Bill Shorten says Labor would not go with “silly options” such as those proposed in the Warburton report. “It’s not a negotiation to get rid of renewable energy targets or to make the targets so low to be meaningless,” he told ABC’s AM program.
“I cannot believe this government has got away with undermining billions of dollars in investment and creating uncertainty over thousands of jobs. It is just vandalism.”
Here are some photos of the Capital wind farm that Hockey finds “offensive” and “appalling.”