A $500 million cut in funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is the latest in a long line of federal government attacks on renewable energy, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

The Labor opposition did not support the government’s proposed cut of $1.3 billion but agreed to cut $500 million, while the Greens opposed all cuts to renewables funding.

“It is very disappointing to see Australia’s government slash funding for renewable energy,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

“Sadly this seems to be part of a trend from this government to undermine renewable energy in Australia.

“Following the axing of Australia’s price on pollution and a drawn-out, confidence-sapping review of the renewable energy target, investment in clean energy in Australia dropped by 88 per cent.

“In the quest to find Budget savings, politicians have been quick to take money away from renewable energy, while the $6 billion of taxpayers’ funds that subsidises fossil fuel industries every year remains untouched.

“The government is in charge, but the whole Parliament and all political parties need to take responsibility for helping Australia make the transition away from dirty, dangerous energy.

“That means closing coal-fired power stations in an orderly way, getting rid of subsidies that encourage pollution, boosting renewable energy – not attacking it – and helping affected communities through the time of transition.

“Any MP that stands in the way of renewable energy stands in the way of good jobs and a future safe from dangerous global warming,” she said.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance says the repeal of the carbon price, which removed long-term price support for renewables, and the lengthy review of the RET, which eventually cut the target cut by about one-fifth, dented confidence in the sector.

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