LOCAL NEWS & VIEWS

Waving farewell

to the sustainable energy boat

It seems that when it comes to renewable energy, the Morrison Government is left on the dock waving the sustainable energy boat goodbye! But when it comes throwing the odd $Billion or two to prop up a dodgy oil refinery Josh Frydenberg can’t part with the money quick enough.

11 June 2021

ALAN HAYES

 

INFRASTRUCTURE Australia has identified that there is a need for major transmission upgrades to supply network access to renewable energy zones as a high priority, particularly in light of retiring thermal generation, yet our Federal Government continues to miss opportunity after opportunity to embrace Australia's renewable energy sector and follow the lead of international, state and territory counterparts to use the clean energy transition to drive job creation and economic recovery.

 

A clean recovery from COVID-19 could have delivered over $50 billion of investment, more than 30,000 MW of capacity in renewable energy and more than 50,000 new jobs in constructing these projects, along with many more indirect jobs, revitalising economic activity in regional and rural communities across Australia. This is the way we get Australia's economic engine to roar back to life and how we build a more resilient and secure Australia.

 

There is no doubt that the Government should be investing in the renewable energy labour market with targeted funding to support a growing and diverse regional workforce, in particular in areas like the Central Coast that have aging power stations. Power Station like Vales Point that have gone way beyond their use-by date and contribute to digitating human health problems than providing any real benefit, except to line the pockets of a wealthy few.

 

The Australia’s Clean Energy Council has slammed the Australian government’s for not placing more onus on expanding the country’s renewable energy capacity. Instead, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg continues to believe that by placing commitments on social policies will drive down employment. "Now is the time to invest in the renewable energy labour market with targeted funding to support a growing and diverse regional workforce," said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.

 

Yet, while the Morrison Government fails to deliver on sustainable and environmentally responsible energy investment, it has, without the blink of an eye, acquiesced to the Australian oil industry lobby to a point of undeniable concern. The Government’s agreement to subsidise Viva’s Geelong oil refinery and Ampol’s Brisbane oil refinery to the extent of $2.3 billion dollars until 2030 is extraordinary and seems to once again indicate the Energy Minister Angus Taylor and his government are ignorant of how the industry works.

 

Both of these refineries were destined for closure, not having the technical ability or size to compete with the mega refineries of Asia. To add to the debacle, both refineries have to import the crude oil to refine. Why? Because refining local crude was already uneconomical because it was cheaper to import refined product than to refine it locally. So, why subsidise the importation of crude oil when it still more expensive to refine than importing the refined product from Singapore?

 

The Government's decision to hand billions to the oil industry defies basic business logic. But then, it must be remembered, we have a Prime Minister who entertained politicians by juggling a lump of coal in the parliament.

 

Propping up ageing and uneconomical oil refineries at the expense of the Australian taxpayer is nothing less than extreme negligence, considering the fact that once the subsidies end the refineries will still have to close and the jobs will be gone. These unviable refinery sites, if converted to terminals, could have provided the opportunity for increased capacity in our much needed Strategic Fuel Reserves and provided a continuity of guaranteed employment.

 

So, why the Federal Government panders to unnecessary investments, is it any wonder that they have been criticised for not doing more to stimulate investment in renewables.

Grapevine News Online

Central Coast NSW

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