Thousands of jobs at risk if renewable target cut

More than 40 renewable energy suppliers have written an open letter to the federal government urging it to save jobs by not scrapping the renewable energy target (RET).

They say the renewable energy industry employs tens of thousands of Australian workers, both directly and indirectly. This open letter to federal and state politicians from businesses supplying the sector highlights the importance of the RET in generating jobs and investment.

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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.

Our businesses build components for power stations in wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy, electrical infrastructure, roads, supply safety equipment, cranes, trucks, logistics services and cement, 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. Australia’s 68 wind farms, 49 large-scale solar projects, 139 bioenergy projects, 123 hydro projects and trial marine and geothermal projects around the country have provided the incentive for our companies to grow and employ an increasing number of workers. Many of these jobs are in rural and regional areas where other job opportunities are scarce.

The RET has underpinned the development of the renewable energy sector, and in turn the growth of our businesses.

We believe it is vital that we stay the course. Analysis from ROAM Consulting has shown that if the target is left to operate as legislated, we can expect another $14.5 billion to be invested in large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia by 2020.

Our companies and workers would make valuable contributions to this future growth, at a time when small businesses around Australia are facing many challenges.

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 the jobs and opportunities we provide to Australian workers.

The fact that the majority of Australians want more renewable energy gives us confidence about the appetite of the community for the construction of future renewable energy projects.

Also, analysis undertaken by ACIL Allen for the federal government found that retail electricity prices will be lower over the long term if the RET is maintained, as it will help shield us from rising gas prices. This is beneficial to all Australians, consumers and businesses alike.

We urge the federal government to recognise the broad benefits of the RET to Australia, and in particular the benefits that flow to companies like ours right across the country. The jobs of our workers rely on it.

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