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Abbott "bankrupt" of clean energy vision: AMWU

12 August, 2013

The AMWU has joined industry groups and environmental experts warning Australia would lose potential to develop clean industries and thousands of new jobs if Tony Abbott abolishes the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Abbott targeted the CEFC on day one of campaigning, aggressively asking the industry financier to halt operations during the election period because it is a Commonwealth authority.

He made it clear that if he became prime minister he would suspend it on day one before scrapping it as part of his policy to axe the carbon price, which the federal government has already announced it will replace with an emissions trading scheme next year.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is an investment bank set up by the government to provide loans for commercial development of clean technology, energy efficiencies and industries using energy sources such as hydro, wind and solar.

"The CEFC is a necessary initiative because venture capital for all but the largest projects dried up in wake of the Global Financial crisis," Andrew Dettmer, AMWU president, said.

"It provides significant levels of finance for companies and individual entrepreneurs who can present a sound business case for low emission technologies and manufacturing companies.

"It can put Australia at the cutting edge of world industry practice and to suggest it's some kind of extravagance really shows Tony Abbott is bankrupt of vision and foresight. Like carbon emissions, if he can't see it with his own eyes, he won't believe it."

The government has allocated the CEFC $2 billion annually for the next five years.

In May the corporation told the opposition it was in "active discussions" on 50 projects worth $4.6 billion and has so far set aside $500 million for investments in energy efficiency and power generation from solar, wind, landfill and coal mine gases.

Dettmer said most venture capital operated on the basis of around a 50 per cent success rate at best, but the CEFC operated under strict lending rules of providing a return to taxpayers.

"The commercial reality is that large corporations work hand-in-hand with government-sanctioned operations like the CEFC on good, innovative projects that may not be funded if left to the timid investment environment of the post-GFC markets," he said.

"The opposition just don't get it."

Clean energy company Pacific Hydro last week obtained a $60 million loan from the CEFC to develop a 56-megawatt solar photovoltaic energy farm in NSW, to power 15,000 homes around Moree.

Andrew Richards, Head of Government and Corporate Affairs said Pacific Hydro expected any incoming government to honour its legally-enforceable loan agreement, for which CEFC was provided with an Australian Industry Participation Plan.

"It's not a grant, this is a commercial loan," he said. "The CEFC is prepared to back the industry on new-to-market technology which the big four banks may still be a little more cautious in approving.

"It will hopefully encourage more financial market competition among lenders within the clean energy sector."

The board of the Clean Energy Council is expected to discuss the implications of Abbott's stand when it meets this week.

Council deputy CEO Kane Thornton noted both sides of politics supported Australia's Renewable Energy target. It was clear that financing remained an issue in the clean energy sector.

"Established lenders such as the major banks are often reluctant to invest in new technology before it has been fully proven in the local marketplace," he said.

"In discussions we have had with the financial sector, it has been made very clear that some kind of institution that helps to share the risk of investments is helpful in freeing up private sector finance."

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jonno | Monday, August 12, 2013, 1:55 PM
Why doesn't Murdoch's press tell us this sort of stuff? Isn't Abbott pro-industry? We often see footage of him in 'abbott'oirs, but does he ever visit technology companies, especially 'green' tech?
dave d | Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 2:19 PM
After all the job losses caused by this labor party we still have people like Dettmer (who noticeably still has a job)still believing that this labor government will take the "clean energy" project to fulfilment. We are still to hear from anyone -including the self protectionist Dettmer what all these "new jobs" will be or when we might start seeing them. If he thinks Rudd will run with this he needs to talk to his members at Ford GMH and many of the other manufacturing operations that have closed or moved on. How blind do these people have to be before they see the light - Representing the workers my rear end, they just keep supporting loser after loser even the Greens woke up to the losers and dissasociated themselves from this Government so it's obvious they don't agree with where the losers are taking them !!
ceirano | Friday, August 16, 2013, 2:41 PM
If the CEFC "clean energy" means restricting CO2 then think again!!.CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a necessary part of the growth cycle of all flora & fauna. The $60m to Pacific Hydro will grow into $90m if the past performance of Government funded projects are any indication of their estimates!! This government has no experience of business management. Has the sola station in Spain yet made a profit? If so, at what cost. Abbott understands that attempting to reduce CO2 is an absolute waste of money. Read the science, not the dreaming & speculation.
Gus | Friday, August 16, 2013, 4:27 PM
Are you kidding me? CO2 may be a necessary part of life on Earth, but that's not to say that it isn't harmful. Contrary to the saying, you can have too much of a good thing. Models have shown high CO2 levels have very dire consequences. Many plants integral to life on Earth as we know it are very susceptible to changes in climate. No doubt the current government isn't doing all it could to help conserve the environment, but atleast they are attempting to do something positive about the future of our environment.
ceirano | Saturday, August 17, 2013, 5:07 PM
The volcano in Indonesia is putting out more CO2 in a day than the industry will put out in a year. Any attempt to reduce industrial CO2 will cost a fortune & have almost no results. Don't trust models. They are based on cherry picked data by dud scientists who collect a lot of cash for doing just that. Will an increase in the temperature of half a degree make any difference to plant life? It happens every year without any consequence. All the predictions about global catastrophe so far have been wrong. The sea has not inundated the islands, normal high tides may have. Gus! It is not science it's political. Please get some of the 'so called" deniers books & read, They have nothing to gain.
jonno | Monday, August 19, 2013, 10:25 AM
Ceirano, could you please provide your souce of data (cherry picked or otherwise) that confirms your statement that any volcano in Indonesia (or elsewhere) puts out more CO2 than industry. And surely the suggestion that scientists have cherry picked data infers that you would rather cherry pick data that supports your point of view. On 16/08 you say to read the science, but on 17/08 you say you do not trust the science. Of course models are not perfect, but they are based on real-world measurements. What are your statements based on?
ceirano | Friday, August 23, 2013, 4:18 PM
The demise of sea turtles due to global warming? The Costa Rican people are taking the eggs!Significant? a little! Most of the statements & data is adjusted to fit the warming hoax. Read "The Greatest Hoax" by SenatorJames Inhofe. Polar bears are drowning. Google Peter Ferrara. Check out the climate change emails of east Anglia University. Read "The Great Global warming Blunder" by Roy W Spencer. Google UNIPCC Corruption of climate science & "Why the IPCC Should be Disbanded" & Scientific Untruths About Global Warming. The political & Academic Financial Corruption of Science" Earths Temperature has not risen since 1998. Dams & reservoirs will never be full again - floods occurred. Predictions of extreme weather are not fulfilled. It's no worse than in the past. Flanery has a home almost on high tide in spite of his predictions. Sea levels are not rising at a greater rate than before. Desal plant have been mothballed. Google Flanery's other predictions. CSIRO comments are that "this is possible" "that is possible" nothing is certain. Climate does not behave in simple linear fashion, therefore extrapolation is not easy. but in many cases predictions have been stated as certainties. Abrupt changes in weather do not follow changes in CO2 concentration. There is strong evidence that sunspot activity has influence. The whole CO2 fraud is not about Climate change, it is about the redistribution of income through taxation, hence carbon tax. I am persuaded in view of the above that we are being conned. You may think otherwise & we are lucky to live in this country that we have this choice. Jonno. Cheers & live well.
jonno | Monday, August 26, 2013, 11:05 AM
We are very lucky, not just to live in this country, but at this time. 200 or 500 years ago it would have been a lot more challenging. A large part of our success as a nation can be attributed to our understanding of nature, and ability to manipulate that to achieve a result. The understanding of nature is from the sciences (physical, environmental, medical, social and others), and that knowledge is used by farmers, engineers of all types, doctors, industry, essential services to provide the essentials of modern life and the quality of society that we live in. Pretty much everything you or I do today is the result of science and engineering, our understanding of nature and ability to manipulate it. In terms of the atmosphere, for the last few hundred years we have been manipulating that by returning 'fossilised' carbon to the environment. Only in the last few decades (30, 40 years?) has science really started to question, understand and be concerned about what we are doing to the atmosphere, so until recently the atmospheric engineering has been happening without scientific scrutiny and input. Of course there will be many who distrust the scientific evidence. Of course, we know the universe revolves around the planet Earth, don't we? I take Flannery's predictions with a grain of salt, but he and others are giving us a warning that we should be taking seriously, and trying to use new technologies to reduce our fossil carbon footprint. We are not just lucky to live here, we are lucky to have scientists who raise issues like this despite any personal/professional difficulties it may cause. These people are the whistle blowers that our society needs to listen to. Of course, climate change is only a minor issue compared to population. Ever heard about overstocking? That's a more serious issue that few governments or modern societies have the courage to face. Expect to hear more about it in 50 years.
Alf | Friday, August 30, 2013, 4:41 PM
Gentlemen this comment came from the AMWU the same people and the other unions that have caused near all the problems this country has thru deceit manipulation of members politicians and the facts, now they are claiming knowledge of Co2 when all they themselves produce is hot air and from both ends, ignore them for they are soon to be a lost cause, They have to be if this country is ever going to get back on its feet.
ceirano | Sunday, September 1, 2013, 10:12 PM
Spot on Alf! spread the message. I really think we are winning. Role on next Saturday the 7th.