06 October, 2017

Greg Brown

Courtesy of the Australian

 

Bill Shorten has dodged seven questions on Labor’s 50 per cent renewables target by 2030 pledge, refusing to say whether the party had costed the policy or remains committed to it.

The Opposition Leader said Australia should be “aiming high” on renewables targets but would not say whether Labor remained wedded to last year’s pre-election goal of 50 per cent renewables by the end of next decade.

He also refused to say whether the party had costed the policy, but Labor sources told The Australian last night the policy had not been costed.

“It’s not about renewables in 2030, it is about making sure we have got gas in Australia, to make sure gas is being sold to Australian companies competitively compared to just being bought more cheaply overseas,” Mr Shorten told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“It is about creating some certainty in policy so we can create new generation into the system.”

When pressed again, Mr Shorten said renewables were the “right area” and their cost was “coming down”.

“Our future is not going to be one nor the other; by that, it is not just going to be renewables and it is not just going to be coal,” he said.

Labor’s 50 per cent renewable goal would include energy sources funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Mr Shorten refused to answer repeated questions on whether the party had costed the policy. “I’ve got no doubt the cost of renewable energy is going down, all the evidence supports that … that’s what scientists are saying, that’s what investors are saying,” he said.

“We will provide the information which will back up our policy; there is no problem with that.”

Last week, Mr Shorten would not say whether Labor remained committed to an emissions reduction target of 45 per cent by 2030. “In terms of emissions reduction, we should be aiming at reducing our emissions in that range, absolutely, but the point is we’re not going to reduce anything under this current government,” he said.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg attacked Labor, saying the ALP had “no idea” how much its renewable energy policy would cost. “Labor no longer has a 50 per cent renewable energy target but a 60 per cent target based on their commitment to 45 per cent emissions reduction,” Mr Frydenberg told The Australian last night.

“They have no idea how much it would really cost and how they would achieve it as it was always designed to simply secure their green-left flank.

“Their climate policies today are simply a recipe for a punishing new electricity tax and a less stable system.”

Greens leader Richard Di Nata­le accused Mr Shorten of trying to back away from what he described as a “weak” 50 per cent renewables target.

“Labor slashed the renewable energy target, took money out of ARENA, so it’s no surprise they’re crab walking back from their ­already weak 50 per cent renew­ables goal,” he said.

Mr Shorten said the government was stalling on energy policy. “You would have to be a Rhodes scholar to work out what this government is doing on energy policy, and the problems are now,” he said. “(Malcolm Turnbull) promised Australians a couple of hundred days ago that he would halve gas prices — I would invite listeners to find anyone who has had their gas price halved.”