Earlier this year Yes 2 Renewables expressed the ambition to get politicians to speak on the record about their position on renewable energy. On Wednesday November 21, I travelled to the regional city of Ballarat to hear opposition leader Daniel Andrews address the Rural Press Club.
In his speech, Daniel Andrews articulated a desire to support regional development, jobs growth and the rollout of strategic infrastructure projects in Victoria. While wind energy was not discussed specifically, the themes covered in Andrews’ speech formed the perfect context for a question to explore the opposition’s wind energy policy.
Your speech canvassed regional development, jobs, and infrastructure, an issue that really ties all that together is wind energy. Given the Labor party’s progressive wind energy policies in the past, what would an Andrews government do to address the Baillieu government’s anti-wind energy laws that where passed one year ago, resulting in new major wind energy projects being approved in 12 months?
Daniel Andrews, Leader of the Opposition:
Probably more of a comment than a definitive answer. I’m not here today to make a wind energy policy announcement. We’ll have an alternative wind energy policy framework out there well before the next election.
These issues, you couldn’t find, I think, a more stark difference in terms of the approach we took in government compared the approach this government has taken. [The Coalition] may well argue they had a mandate for this, I don’t think that’s right. I don’t think that’s right at all. It’s not by accident there has been no new wind energy projects off the ground in the last 12 months. It’s not by accident, it’s because the laws have been changed to put this industry, or any new participants into it, out of business.
Now, the evidence is in on [wind energy]. It’s efficient, it’s effective, it’s part of the future. And it ought to have been supported. I think this is a very indulgent view that the Premier takes, it’s very personal for him. In my view, and I’ve said this before, I’m not going to be someone who develops policy based on whether an aunt or a family member or a friend has lost a view at there beach house. That is not leadership.
My view on [wind energy] is, there’s jobs in this, there’s significant energy, there’s real opportunity, and there’s also some non-rainfall dependent income for a lot of primary producers who are only too happy to get into it. I’ve stood in paddocks of people who have turbines, one or two, and the money they make off that is the difference between them being around at the end of the drought and not. And I’ve stood in their paddocks and they’ve told me. And you tell me that’s not a good thing for regional development, for opportunity for that farmer and the community that he spends his money in.
[VC82] is the wrong policy, and as I’ve said, you’re spot on, it’s no accident that we’ve seen none of these projects off the ground since this Premier was sworn in. He’s set against this industry. And what that means is that he pits himself against the opportunities that come from it.
On an alternative vision, today’s not the day, but rest assured. We did it. If you want proof of our credentials look at what we did when we were in office. That’s the type of approach that works. Certainly that’s what Keppel Prince in Portland tell us about that.