Newspaper reports said that industry minister Ian Macfarlane and environment minister Greg Hunt made an offer to Labor of cutting the current 41,000GWh target to just 31,000GWh, highlighting the view that the Abbott government had hardly moved since the Warburton Review was completed six months ago. It was suggested by Macfarlane last week that any offer would include a high rooftop solar component, so the large scale component would have been even lower.
“Labor met with the Government yesterday, after weeks of inaction from the Government,” a spokeswoman for Labor climate spokesman Mark Butler said in an emailed statement.
“The Government made an offer that will decimate the industry, cost jobs, stall investment, see household power prices rise and increase Australia’s carbon pollution.
“Labor does not support that position. Labor has consistently rejected Tony Abbott’s attempts to ruin the renewable energy industry.
“The clean energy industry does not support the Government’s position, and we’ve taken our lead from what’s best for the industry.”
Labor has been prepared to negotiate a compromise in the mid-to-high 30,000GWh, including an exemption for the aluminium industry, but has refused to budge further to meet the Abbott demands.
The large scale industry has been at a standstill for nearly two years because of uncertainty about policy. Macfarlane warned last week that he would allow the uncertainty to remain, and the stagnation to continue, unless the clean energy industry accepted his offer.