Suppliers working on Australia’s renewable energy projects say many thousands of jobs will be lost – most of them in rural and regional areas – if the Federal Government slashes the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
Forty small and medium businesses from around Australia have jointly written to the government, urging it to retain the current policy, rejecting the recommendations of the recent Warburton review to shut down or severely reduce the RET.
"We are writing as suppliers to Australia’s renewable energy industry, which has now generated more than $10 billion worth of investment in large-scale renewable energy projects," the companies said.
The companies between them operate across all Australian states and territories.
"Our businesses build electrical infrastructure, roads and components for power stations in wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy, along with supplying safety equipment, cranes, trucks and cement.
"They provide catering, cleaning services, security, logistics and accommodation to construction teams, manage environmental and cultural heritage plans, and supply many other essential inputs to the renewable energy industry.
"While the industry directly employs 21,000 people, our companies collectively employ many thousands more as a result of the clean energy sector."
The companies, whose sizes range from 1 to 2000 employees, said Australia’s 68 wind farms, 49 large-scale solar projects, 139 bioenergy projects, 123 hydro projects and trial marine and geothermal projects had provided the incentive to grow and employ more workers.
"Many of these jobs are in rural and regional areas where other job opportunities are scarce," they said.
Analysis from ROAM Consulting has shown that if the RET is left to operate as currently legislated, a further $14.5 billion will be invested in large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia by 2020.
Slashing the RET would not only prevent the employment of extra workers in the future, it would place existing jobs under threat.
"We have hired and trained workers and invested in our businesses on the basis of the development of renewable energy in Australia. Maintaining the RET in its current form will help us continue to create jobs and opportunities for Australian workers."
The companies also referred to analysis undertaken by ACIL Allen for the Federal Government, which found that retail electricity prices will be lower over the long term if the RET is maintained, as it will help shield Australians from rising gas prices.
"This is beneficial to all Australians, consumers and businesses alike," the companies said.
Please contact Laura Szekfy on 0410 277 393 for more information or to arrange an interview.