The federal opposition has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of making yet another policy “Captain’s Call”, this time regarding the party’s position on the Renewable Energy Target. And it’s a call, Labor says, that he hasn’t shared with his colleagues. Or, at least, not with Labor.
In a statement released by shadow environment minister Mark Butler on Thursday, Abbott is quoted as saying that the Coalition had come up with a fair offer on the RET, and was awaiting the ALP’s response.
“I think we’ve come to the table with a fair offer that will bring certainty to the renewable sector,” Abbott reportedly told a press conference. “So it’s a good offer and let’s see if the Labor Party is prepared to come to the table.”
But according to Butler, the Labor Party has received no such offer from the Abbott government since the resumption of negotiations this year, and has been awaiting news of the next meeting for two weeks now.
He said that Labor remained willing to consider a minor reduction in the RET to provide an exemption for emissions-intensive industries such as aluminium, but would not support any proposal that spells the end of the renewable energy industry.
“If Tony Abbott has made a Captain’s Call on the Renewable Energy Target, he really needs to share it with everyone, given it’s his own interference that has created a year of uncertainty and crippled the renewable energy industry,” Butler said.
Butler noted that Abbott’s own review of the RET – despite being headed up by a known climate denier – had found it was putting downward pressure on household electricity prices, creating jobs, driving investment and reducing pollution.
“But Tony Abbott is so ideologically opposed to renewable energy, he still wants to see a significant reduction in the RET,” he said.
RenewEconomy sought clarification from Minister Greg Hunt’s office, but is yet to see a reply.
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