The Australian Greens today challenged the Howard Government to implement the findings of its own review and lift the renewable energy target for Australia.
Australian Greens energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne said the Greens would move amendments to increase the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) after the government failed to include the measure in a bill before parliament.
"When the government introduced the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target in 2000 it clearly underestimated just how quickly the renewable energy industry could respond," Senator Milne said in Canberra.
"A surge of investment into renewable energy, especially wind and solar water heating, means that progress towards the target of 9,500 GWh per annum by 2010 is years ahead of schedule. As a result, further investment in the renewable energy industry has stalled."
The 2003 Tambling review of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 recommended that the MRET be extended from 2010 to 2020 with an increased target of 20 000 GWh to be achieved by 2020. However, the government failed to include this measure in the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2006.
The Greens criticised this omission in a report on the bill by the Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee, tabled today.
"The recommendations of the Tambling review for an extended timeframe and increased target have received very widespread support from the renewables industry since 2003 but the government has failed to respond positively," Senator Milne said.
"The target needs to be bolstered urgently to reinvigorate investment in the renewables industry in Australia.
"It is terrible to see the Australian wind and photovoltaic industries stall when they are the industries with the fastest jobs growth in Germany. Several US states are also introducing renewable energy targets because they see this jobs growth potential."
Contact: Katrina Willis 02 6277 3063 or 0437 587 562