Senate debates

Thursday, 23 August 2018


Clean Energy Regulator; Consideration

6:00 pm

Photo of Andrew BartlettAndrew Bartlett (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Document No. 7 on the Notice Paper is a report from the Clean Energy Regulator assessing the progress over 2017 in terms of meeting Australia's Renewable Energy Target for 2020. It's a pretty apt follow-on from the debate we've just had about energy policy. Perhaps the most obvious thing to say—which isn't in this report, which is apt—is that there is a gap in this report which matches the total gap in this government's policy when it comes to what happens after 2020 with renewable energy or any form of energy policy. There is no 2020 vision from this government. There is no vision at all when it comes to renewable energy, other than the vision of the climate change deniers in the coalition, who want to destroy the renewable energy industry and turn us backwards to job-destroying, economy-destroying, environment-destroying, price-increasing, taxpayer-money-sucking coal-fired power generation.

The report does contain some useful information. It does show that, despite all of the efforts of this coalition government to hurt the renewable energy industry, to destroy investor confidence, to reduce the number of jobs that it generates, including in regional and rural areas, nonetheless the expansion of renewable energy continues in this country. According to this report, the large-scale Renewable Energy Target for 2020 is in sight. We've heard a bit of scorn from some of those in the coalition about the unworkable targets that other parties are putting forward. Let me say that the Greens target for renewable energy is a vision of 100 per cent renewable energy in the future, a future of clean energy for all of us, a future of reliable and affordable energy for all of us, and a future where we still hope we can avoid the harm—the economic, social and environmental harm—of runaway climate change that the climate deniers, the fossil fuel industry, lobbyists and donors are still so determined to inflict on this planet, on the community, hurting, most significantly, the poorest amongst us and the poorest communities around the globe.

In amongst the bad news that this government keeps delivering, the harm that this government keeps delivering, some of it deliberately in the interests of its corporate mates, some of it just because they don't have any vision themselves about what to do anymore, there is some positive news—that is, the renewable energy industry continues to roll out. I've spoken a couple of times already this is week about what can be done and the vision that the Greens have—the costed, affordable and credible policies the Greens have already put forward at previous state and federal elections—to turbocharge the renewable energy industry in a way which will deliver jobs, which will deliver clean energy, and which will deliver affordable and reliable energy around the country. That's something that we'll continue to campaign on. It is a reminder that, even in amongst the destructive and incoherent approach of this government, progress is still possible and why it's so important to continue to push to lock in mechanisms that are immune to vandalism by some of the ideological warriors and the people who are unable to escape their connections to their corporate donors and the fossil fuel lobby. So I commend the report to the chamber as something for them to peruse, to look at where our Renewable Energy Target is going.

Question agreed to.