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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."