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Canberra Gaze: clean energy « Previous | |Next »
October 26, 2012

Gillard Labor's economic plan is to scrabble and scratch to get out of, and stay out of, deficit in the face of a collapsing revenue base resulting from the after math of the global financial crisis. For many in the Canberra Press Gallery Labor’s credibility rests on it being able to present a half credible explanation of how it will fund the Gonski education reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) if revenue falls further. The surplus is their policy issue for the week.

RoweDminingtax.jpg David Rowe

For these political journalists economics has nothing to do with the transition to low carbon economy, even though the objective of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) is to encourage additional investment in renewable energy generation and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the electricity sector.

There had been a concerted push to cutback the scheme, led by Origin Energy, TRUenergy (Energy Australia) and eastern state governments, particularly New South Wales and Queensland.

They were backed by lobbying from heavy industry, the Business Council of Australia), miners (the Minerals Council), the Australian Coal Association and farmers, and even some pricing regulators. Their aim was to stop the declining wholesale prices of electricity for the coal-fired power generators and utilities and to protect the future of their fossil fuel assets.

That has nothing to do with the economy either. What matters is economic growth and prosperity and the shift to green energy indicates the anti-business and anti-growth attitude of the Gillard Government.

The Climate Change Authority (CCA) in its Discussions Paper on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme has rejected this push by the major energy players to reduce the 20 per cent renewable energy target. The paper says:

The Authority’s preliminary view is that the existing LRET target should not be changed, and that the benefits of any change at this time (either an increase or decrease) would be outweighed by the costs of increased regulatory uncertainty.....The Authority considers that the projected resource cost savings to society overall that might be achieved by reducing the target would not be large enough to offset the damage to investor confidence that such a change could entail.

This represents a defeat for the incumbent generators, state-owned electricity networks and other vested interests. The CCA has cut through their threats and the scare-mongering that were used to slow down Australia's transition to a clean energy future.

A clean energy future has nothing to do withe economy either. That's environmental stuff. They fail to see that the fossil fuel industry will only continue in the medium term as a form of back-up to renewable energy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:23 AM | | Comments (7)


The message from the Canberra Press gallery is that Labor cannot hold the budget to surplus. So they are incompetent economic managers.

They are certainly incompetent politicians for making the 'surplus in 2013 come what may' promise in the first place. It's playing the game Keating and Costello invented where numbers mean everything regardless of what might be happening in people's lives. I suspect that the conservatives will always come out on top in a game like that, simply because of the embedded cultural belief that business people are the best at that numbers stuff than the Libs are the party of business.

Hmm, how to say this without being unduly uncouth?

We should have a deficit budget.
We NEED a deficit budget, there is no valid reason, economic or otherwise, why we should not have a deficit budget and there are many valid reasons why we should.

But this entirely necessary logical and credible alternative to the present madness is not on the agenda.
Why not?
Because, quite simply, free market ideologues control the debate on economic matters.
And so people suffer.

Gives me the shits [oops, uncouth].

Has Labor ever been good government?

The right-wing factional powerbrokers within the Labor party are beginning their campaign against renewable energy.

The Australian newspaper continues its campaign against renewable energy.

"The right-wing factional powerbrokers within the Labor party are beginning their campaign against renewable energy."

The government’s chief whip, Joel Fitzgibbon is an example. He wants the renewable energy target to be dumped, or at least cut back and he rails against the “rent seekers” in the renewable sector.

“Coal” Fitzgibbon represents the Hunter, which is home to two of NSW's biggest coal-fired generators, the Bayswater and Liddell black coal generators. He talks in terms of fossil-fuel-rich Australia and coal fired electricity ensuring Australia's international competitiveness.