As a business chamber, the Sustainable Energy Association of Australia welcomes measures in the Federal Budget that will support private investment in a more sustainable economy for Australia.
Treasurer Wayne Swan has said the 2012 Budget is "investing in productivity and competitiveness by building on key improvements in health, education, infrastructure and clean energy."
‘SEA has been arguing for almost a decade for growth in jobs and the economy by building renewable energy projects,' says Prof. Ray Wills, SEA Chief Executive.
‘Support for new projects in sustainable energy will require new jobs in the education, research, government, business and community sectors across Australia. Skills gaps in the different sustainable energy industry sectors in addition to the equally significant skills shortages in key professions such as engineering, conventional trades and good quality accredited renewable energy designers and installers must be met by both formal training at tertiary and VET levels’
‘SEA has also argued the most effective way to deal with cost of living relief for families is to ensure, investments in a sustainable Australia, and new assistance for small businesses and manufacturers, is to bolster both energy efficiency and self-generation of energy from renewable sources in the same places people live and work.’
‘To boost the growth of industries across the sustainable energy portfolios, the Australian Government must support change and overcome resistance to change from the traditional industry base – especially the 20th Century energy generation businesses.’
SEA - the business chamber for the sustainable energy industry - is focused on removing the barriers to and promoting opportunities for the commercialization of sustainable outcomes for energy in Australia.
A key barrier over the past decade is government inertia in delivering on funding projects. This is highlighted by the fact that the 2012 Budget continues to support renewable energy and emerging renewable technologies (good news!) but in a number of cases with the same money that was carried over because of unspent funds from last year (bad news!).
The Federal Government must show some ticker and ensure that funds allocated to support projects are delivered in a timely fashion, and avoid any delays through long-drawn out assessment processes, as has been the experience for Solar Flagships.
In other bad news, the cut in Tax Breaks for Green Buildings to save $405 million is also disappointing, as it would have contributed to transformative change to the built environment in the retail, hotel and commercial office sectors.
In addition failing to cut fossil fuel subsidies including the $9.4 billion diesel rebate for mining industries is a missed opportunity.
The best good news is that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will soon be legislated with a $10 billion fund dedicated to providing Australians with more sustainable energy choices.
Australia has the world’s best wind, solar, and wave resources, and enormous opportunities for harnessing both biomass and geothermal resources, not just for electricity production but also for direct energy use. The Australian Government needs to unleash its support for renewable energy generation, and encourage Australian businesses to get on with the job of decarbonising Australia’s economy.
A combination of a price on carbon paired with direct incentives for industry and the community to reduce emissions through both energy efficiency and procurement of lower emissions energy from renewable sources will actually diversify the economy and create more jobs and a more robust environment for business and a more sustainable Australian economy.
SEA Media Release - 9 May 2012