Future built on the sun

Hot enough for you? By the time you read this, a Coalition government may be on its way to dismantling a raft of vital clean energy organisations.

Just last week the Coalition announced that, if elected, they plan to cut funding for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, more commonly known as ARENA. As a big government body, the day-to-day of ARENA’s workings are unknown to most Australians, but the implications on our renewable energy future are severe. It’s organisations like ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that ensure investment into creating a sustainable clean energy future, be it through investment in community projects or helping provide funding for renewable energy initiatives. And, both of these organisations are going to be undermined by the Coalition, if they win.

This election, there’s a lot at risk. Between different policy platforms on hot button issues like refugees and gay marriage, renewable energy can get lost in the fray. However, announcements like the Coalition’s last week show how different the parties are when considering how we’ll be producing energy in years to come.

Renewable energy is here in Australia, and it’s growing by the minute. In fact, over 1 million homes have solar on their rooftops, and just a few weeks ago South Australia produced nearly 50 per cent  of their electricity needs from the wind. Renewable energy utilises the free sources of clean power we have now, helping families reduce their electricity bills while also doing their part to help the environment. It’s a win-win, and one that Australians overwhelmingly support. Recent data shows that Australians want more renewable energy – not less.

When looking at election candidates here in the Inner West, the current MP for Grayndler, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, recently stated that taking action on climate change was top priority for the election – but hasn’t said much else about it since. Tanya Plibersek, the current MP for Sydney, is supportive of local community actions about climate change – but hasn’t said anything about renewable energy policy.

In other parties, you won’t be surprised to hear that the Greens led the way in looking to a clean energy future, with the party recently announcing their 100% Renewable Future policy – making candidate for Grayndler, Hall Greenland, and candidate for Sydney, Dianne Hills, a welcome breath of fresh air in an otherwise dirty debate.

Also unsurprisingly, Liberal candidates for the electorates, Cedric Spencer and Sean O’Connor respectively, both have had their heads in the clouds about renewables; following the party line and simply repeating their adage of repealing the carbon price.

So what’s a renewable energy fan to do? Keeping renewable energy in mind when you go to the polls is the first step. So far, over 15,000 jobs have been created in the solar industry alone.

Imagine: a future run by the sun and wind, with clean energy and growing jobs for our communities. It’s possible, but only if you make sure that no matter who wins on September 7th, renewables win, as well.

Want more information on the candidate’s Solar Scores, including smaller party candidates? Visit: http://solarscorecard.org.au/search/sydney or http://solarscorecard.org.au/search/grayndler.


• Words: Tom Mullaney, Member, Climate Action Newtown

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