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Federal Budget misses opportunity for renewable energy infrastructure and jobs bonanza

The 2021-22 Federal Budget is yet another missed opportunity for the Federal Government 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.

"If this truly is the infrastructure budget, 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," said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton.

The urgency to invest in upgrading and modernising Australia's energy grid has also been emphasised by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which on Monday said Australia is "well ahead" of the path to a 90 per cent renewables scenario for 2040.

"The lack of transmission investment is now one of the most critical challenges facing Australia's energy industry. It's disappointing that in a 'nation-building' infrastructure budget, upgrades that will enable the access and security of clean, low-cost power have not been prioritised.

"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."

Tonight's Federal Budget revealed that more than $4 billion over the forward estimates in funding will be applied to jobs and skills with the extension of Job Trainer and the apprenticeship wage subsidy, the additional support for job seekers, and funding towards employment services and skills reform.

Additionally, there is over $2 billion over the forward estimates for training and improved employment opportunities (including the increase in childcare subsidies) for women, indigenous groups and remote communities.

"This is the time to invest in the renewable energy labour market with targeted funding to support a growing and diverse regional workforce," said Thornton.

"Overall, tonight's Budget represents a missed opportunity to utilise our country's extraordinary renewable energy and energy storage potential to jumpstart Australia's economic resurgence and leaves leadership in reducing Australia's emissions and trajectory towards net-zero to the states and territories."


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Jane Aubrey
Clean Energy Council Media Manager
[email protected]
+61 409 470 683