Shorten: Abbott must reject Warburton review as prerequisite for deal on RET

In a show of support for Australia’s rooftop solar industry, the leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, has called on the government to ignore the recommendations of the latest RET Review and leave the small-scale component of scheme unchanged.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review published on Monday, Shorten was scathing of the recently tabled findings of the federal government commissioned review of the Renewable Energy Target, chaired by climate “sceptic” Dick Warburton.

“If the Prime Minister wants to work with Labor to fix the mess he created, he has to rule to the recommendations in the Warburton review,” Shorten said.

“That’s the job for Tony Abbott. This is the Prime Minister’s report with the industry and job-decimating recommendations he wanted. It belongs in the bin.”

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane recently assured industry that the Coalition would not be scrapping the 41,000GWh by 2020 renewable energy target.

But in the review’s report, Warburton has urged it either become a 16,00GWh target (where it is now, so effectively closed to new business), or a 26,000GWh target, or a true 20 per cent.

Warburton also urged the small-scale scheme to be ended now, or changed significantly to rapidly phase out upfront rebates. He also called for eligible rooftop installations to be cut from 100kW to 10kW – a move that the industry says would kill commercial scale solar just as it starts to build.

Shorten’s pledge on the rooftop solar scheme comes as he prepares to join the Save Solar campaign, which moves this week to the marginal Sydney seat of Barton.

It also reflects the growing traction that solar is having as an emerging political issue.

The Australian Solar Council is to move its campaign to the Melbourne seat of Deakin in October and will also target by-elections in NSW and state elections in Victoria, Queensland, and NSW.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson regularly contributes unique content to Solar Choice News. Giles is the founder and editor of clean energy industry news service RenewEconomy. He is a journalist of 30 years experience, a former Business Editor and Deputy Editor of the Financial Review, a columnist for The Bulletin magazine and The Australian, and the founding editor of Climate Spectator.
Giles Parkinson