Labor announces $300m fund to transition heavy industry to renewables

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Labor unveils Strategic Industries Reserve Fund, which will use initial funds of $300m over 2017-2020 to shift Australia’s emissions-intensive industry to renewables.

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Federal Labor has revealed plans to dedicate $300 million in specialised funding to support the transition of Australia’s emissions intensive industries to renewable energy.

The funding, announced by Labor leader Bill Shorten on Tuesday at the ACT’s Royalla Solar Farm, was announced as part of a policy to establish a Strategic Industries Taskforce, to ensure Australia harnessed the opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

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Bill Shorten at Royalla Solar Farm

According to the announcement, the Taskforce would undertake in-depth engagement with emissions intensive, trade exposed industries, as well as peak bodies and research groups, to explore the specific challenges and opportunities of shifting to renewables, and to identify options for “future competitiveness”.

To facilitate this goal, the Taskforce would use a Strategic Industries Reserve Fund, which, with an initial funding profile of $300 million over three years from 1 July 2017 to 2020.

The fund would also seek to leverage new kinds of government and industry partnerships and innovative financing models, Labor said.

The Taskforce also plans to prioritise investment in science and research into commercialising the next wave of renewable and clean tech innovation; as well as developing networks of support for affected workers in emissions intensive regions.

Labor said it would also work with local TAFEs, universities and chambers of commerce on employment and retraining programs to assist communities through Australia’s transition to a cleaner, more sustainable economy.

Speaking to reporters at the Royalla Solar Farm, Shorten said the ALP’s main strategy for renewables was to put certainty back into investment.

“Renewable energy is not just a fringe industry any more,” Shorten said.

“It is a key strategy in delivering jobs in Australia and delivering investment into Australian industry.

“That is why we are prioritising our goal of 50 per cent of our energy mix by 2030 will be derived from renewable energy source such as these remarkable solar farms that we see behind us,” he said.

“It is forecast that there will be $2.5 trillion worth of investment in our Asia Pacific region alone, up til 2030.

“But this investment isn’t waiting for Australia to catch up. It’s looking for long-term stable homes where the investments can be made to generate the profits, generate the jobs,” Shorten said.



“The rest of the world in the last two years has added 2 million extra jobs in renewable energy. Unfortunately in Australia we’ve lost nearly three thousand jobs.

“It is most important that we have a government in Canberra committed to prioritising renewable energy. We have a plan for renewable energy; we have a plan for jobs, we have a plan for tackling climate change and not passing the problem to future generations.

“By contrast, Mr Turnbull doesn’t have a plan to deal with climate change or renewable energy. He’s simply adopted Tony Abbott’s plan… And we all know what Tony Abbott thought of climate change.”

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4 Comments
  1. Andrew Thaler 4 years ago

    Total bullshit. It’s an announcable not a policy.
    At best a talk-fest with industry ‘peak-bodies’… Like the Austrslian Solar Council whose mission is to unionise the solar installation industry.
    No thanks.

    • MaxG 4 years ago

      Agree… it is welfare for corporations… why I am saying neither of the two major parties is electable.

  2. Farmer Dave 4 years ago

    With respect, Andrew, it does not have to be a talk fest. Industry uses a lot of heat, very little of which currently comes from electricity, and therefore not easily replaceable by solar or wind. I would hope that this new fund would concentrate on renewable heat, an area in which Australia is not doing well, apart from solar hot water and the use of heat pumps for low temperature applications. For example, most industrial natural gas usage is for heat – to raise steam, or direct heating of furnaces. The use of renewables to replace that use of natural gas is not well established.

    Another area it might cover is replacements for petroleum as a feed stock for plastics. While not an energy and climate issue, the use of oil as a feedstock is certainly a sustainability issue.

  3. David Pethick 4 years ago

    The “the specific challenges and opportunities of shifting to renewables” are fairly simple to define – cost and risk. It is difficult for large energy users to justify shifting from a 3 year tendering cycle (lower cost wins) to a 10+ year renewable energy purchasing strategy. Few energy-intensive industries are secure in their longer term, with a focus on short term survival rather than longer term planning.

    That said, in today’s world where they are paying $80+ for LGCs there is certainly a higher appetite today to lock in a cheaper source of power. I’m glad to see this has been recognised by some larger commercial entities (Australia Post, NAB) who are participating in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.

    Dave P.

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