Thousands of jobs lost in renewable sector

Issue 
Photo: Clean Energy Council.

Environment Victoria released this statement on April 14.

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Environment Victoria has labelled new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) identifying 2300 job losses in the renewable energy sector in just two years as proof that the Tony Abbott government’s anti-renewable energy policies are hurting the economy.

The ABS analysis of employment in the renewable energy sector is a first, and comes following a failure of the Abbott government to negotiate an outcome over the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham said: “Prime Minister Abbott is systematically dismantling the renewable energy sector with either bad policies or no policies at all. This approach is hurting Australia’s international environmental standing and destroying jobs in the process.”

The ABS data confirms there are currently 2800 full time equivalent positions in renewable energy activities in Victoria.

“Strong renewable energy policies help drive both CO2 emission reductions and Victorian investment, jobs and industry,” said Wakeham.

The ABS report clearly linked job losses to the RET, stating: “Policies to enable the achievement of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) have an important influence on the uptake of all types of renewable energy and therefore on employment in renewable energy activities … Uncertainty over the future of the RET, or over the size of the renewable power percentage, is likely to have a flow on effect on future investment in renewable energy infrastructure.”

“This latest ABS data on employment in the renewable energy industry is a damning assessment of the Abbott government’s never-ending review of the RET, which has created job-destroying uncertainty,” said Wakeham.

“Australians, and in particular Victorians, are looking to governments to lead on renewable energy. Victorians care about renewables and climate change and are willing to demonstrate their views. In 2012 an Essential Media Communications poll found four out of five Victorians support renewable energy and want government to do more to encourage renewable energy investment.

“There’s also been a recent shift in concern about climate change. Last year's Lowy Institute Poll showed 45% of Australians now see global warming as a ‘serious and pressing problem’, up five points since 2013 and nine points since 2012. The same poll found 63% of Australians think the government ‘should take a leadership role on reducing emissions’.

“In the lead-up to the 2016 federal election both Abbott and [Labor leader] Bill Shorten need strong policies on renewable energy to create jobs and clean up Australia’s energy supply if they are to have a credible story to tell the Australian public,” Mr Wakeham said.

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