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Government 'stifling' solar investment, solar jobs: union

11 July, 2014

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) has joined the chorus of criticism of the Federal Government's lack of investment and support for renewable power and the manufacturing opportunities solar energy brings to Australia.

As reported by the ABC, Solar Reserve – one of the world's most advanced solar power companies – has dumped its plans to develop electricity plants for the public market in Australia. The company clearly blamed the Government's lack of support for solar power and solar manufacturing.
"Renewable energy manufacturing is one of the developed world's great success stories  when it comes to new industries and job growth, and Australia has traditionally led the way in the development of these technologies," said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.
"This government is continually talking about 'out with the old, in with the new' when it comes to manufacturing – renewables are a perfect opportunity for Australia to invest in generating not only new industries but new economy jobs.
"But instead of supporting this growing new industry, the Government's attitude is one of open hostility.
"The Government has appointed a recognised climate change sceptic to review the Renewable Energy Target. It wants to dismantle the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which has already supported $2.2 billion of new investment in the sector while the Treasurer is on the record calling wind energy turbines "utterly offensive".
"Imagine if the Government helped solar and other renewable energy manufacturing companies to locate in Adelaide or Geelong – the thousands of workers facing redundancy from the automotive industry's closure could transition into solar production."
ABC's Four Corners program on Monday 7 July highlighted that the Federal Government's lack of support for investment into solar had already deterred solar manufacturing companies from locating to Australia.
"The Government needs to see and act on the opportunity here – not just for power generation but for jobs," said Mr Bastian.
"By supporting the RET and giving industry support for solar companies to locate here, the Federal Government could kill two birds with one stone – help Australia transition its power base, and provide good manufacturing jobs in regions that need them.
"We hope the Government will reconsider their hostile attitude and support renewable energy companies moving to Australia." 
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Martin Moran | Friday, July 11, 2014, 11:49 AM
The continual outcry from the green sector about the government not using taxpayers money to build so called energy efficient green energy projects is tantamount to robbery by fraud. The report on the wind generators in Britain found wind generators only provided power 19% of the time. I have a wind farm near where I live and most of the time there are mills sitting there not moving as a testimony to the waste of tax payers monies. So called efficient Prius cars will never replace the carbon expended in their construction in the lifetime of the vehicle. I am all for renewable but they must be able to stand on their own feet as a viable project and not use my tax money that I would prefer be used to help homeless or disabled people. Now the unions are wanting taxpayers money be thrown down the plughole to support industries that need to stand on their own two feet.
Klaus Zimmer | Friday, July 11, 2014, 12:12 PM
One Step forward and Two Steps back. Forward to the 19th century.
Wayneos | Friday, July 11, 2014, 1:58 PM
Ratch Collinsville Power station is the dirtiest power station in Australia for emissions But if they use wood pellets instead of brown coal it would become the cleanest power station in the southern hemisphere. And last time i looked the was plenty of land near by that the government could release for farming grasses to supply this generator and create a lot of permanent jobs for the future. And hopefully run by an Australian Business because it seems the only business the get grants are overseas business.
Tony Devlin | Monday, July 14, 2014, 6:19 PM
The Continual outcry to come if Fossil fuels are all used up will be far louder than those we currently are experiencing. I'm all for business and balance of economy but it is time we invested in a sensible and sustainable future. We may have little effect individually and even as a nation in comparison to the rest of the world though a positive step forward is better than being a burden for other countries to carry. Its one globe we all share the same air and oceans and carry the same responsibilities for a sustainable future. Interestingly, I guess before the Prius we would have never have even thought of a vehicle possibly replacing its own expended carbon used during construction, maybe it does not but it is still a big step forward. And for Britain's wind farms that are producing 19% of the time then isn't that less fossil fuel generated power and on a huge scale that's still a 19% saving. I would think that any industry that can make a positive difference to a sustainable future is worth supporting, and we should move forward not back. If more Industries close we will have more homeless. Lets put renewable energy onto homeless shelters and for disabled persons premises and we could help these people and buildings be more efficient, economical and sustainable. Sustainability is not a dirty word try Coal or Oil there a bit dirty, the only difference really is that with renewables a huge multi-national is not able to charge you for its fuels if you own part of the renewable resource.
Martin Moran | Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 9:06 AM
Page 21 of today's Australian newspaper dated 15th July. CEO of Alinta energy states some truths when he says that building wind farms for 25 year life is solving yesterdays problems with yesterdays solutions. Governments should focus on battery manufacture that will go into households that will take people off the grid. I am in agreement as this is what Japan did after Fukashima. However Japan will not allow the batteries to be sold outside of Japan until the market in Japan is saturated first. My solar supply and battery bank make me self sufficient however the $14,000 is a lot more than most people can afford up front. Subsidize research not companies selling old technology.