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Bipartisan compromise on Renewable Energy 'in sight' if Abbott acts

18 February, 2015

Australian Workers' Union National Secretary Scott McDine has urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to listen to the views of his backbench and exempt aluminium smelting from the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Queensland Nationals backbencher Ken O'Dowd has publicly asked the Prime Minister to accept an exemption for aluminium to save jobs in Queensland.

McDine said with the ALP agreeing several months ago to exempt aluminium from the RET, a much-needed bipartisan compromise was within grasp.

"Industry is begging for certainty on the RET so it can invest with confidence in Australian jobs," McDine said.

"The Prime Minister therefore has a serious responsibility to negotiate a compromise with the Parliament as soon as possible.

"Labor is on board with exempting aluminium, so it's now imperative that the Coalition gets on board and gets this legislation through.

"Bipartisan agreement is needed on the RET so that industry can invest safely beyond the electoral cycle."

McDine said saving the Australian aluminium industry was important on myriad levels.

"The Australian aluminium industry is currently hanging in there precariously and is vital it is not lost," McDine said.

"Australia has traditionally delivered best practice in aluminium production and the industry provides quality jobs.

"There is absolutely no point in allowing the RET to drive aluminium production offshore where Australia's high standards are not upheld."

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