The federal government’s proposed $1.3 billion cut to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) threatens more than 5,100 direct jobs in regional areas across the country, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
The proposed cut to ARENA is part of the Omnibus Budget Bill, currently before Federal Parliament.
Analysis released today by ACF has found there are 5,126 direct jobs in renewable energy projects currently shortlisted by ARENA that could generate more than 800 MW of clean energy.
ARENA is expected to announce tomorrow which projects it will fund, but with only $100 million available in this round and looming cuts many projects will never be realised.
“Federal government cuts to renewable energy threaten thousands of regional jobs and will take Australia in the wrong direction,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“ARENA has received applications for more than 800 megawatts of large scale solar projects. These would create over 5,100 jobs in regional areas – much needed jobs that will help create a just transition to a clean energy future.
“On top of this the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has received applications for solar projects that would create 2000 megawatts of power and more than 12,600 jobs.
“But the government is cutting funding to ARENA, and neither CEFC or ARENA have enough funding to invest in all these projects.
“Australia has massive renewable energy potential, but this is being threatened by government cuts.
“In 2014 investment in Australia’s renewable energy sector decreased by 88 per cent.
“If the government really believes in innovation, it will invest in renewables now and set up Australia up to be part of the renewable energy boom that will attract $28 trillion of investment over the next two decades.”