Pollie Watch: Tassie opposition leader vows to protect the RET

377308-3x2-940x627Tasmanian opposition leader Will Hodgman has pledged to protect the Renewable Energy Target.

The Liberal party leader, who will contest the Tasmanian election on 15 March, told The Australian he would fight any move by Canberra to axe or dilute the Renewable Energy Target.

According to The Australian, Hodgman “planned a ‘strong’ push to ensure RET changes did not stymie the state’s key wind and hydro energy sectors.”

Will Hodgman’s position of leadership won praise from the Clean Energy Council“Mr Hodgman clearly recognises the benefits renewable energy has brought to Tasmania,” CEC CEO David Green said in a statement. “The Apple Isle sources the majority of its power from renewables such as hydro, wind and solar.” 

A prominent Liberal politician standing up for the Renewable Energy Target will be welcome news for the majority of Australians. After all, the Renewable Energy Target enjoys strong public support across the political spectrum.

A recent Essential Research poll found 64 per cent of Australians thought the Renewable Energy Target was ‘about right’ or ‘too low’. This indicates a preference to leave the target as it stands or ramp it up.  The prospects of the Abbott government’s RET Review panel making recommendations in line with public sentiment is in doubt. The Abbott RET Review is chaired by climate change denier Dick Warburton and others with a history of supporting fossil fuels.

RET Poll

It’s worth noting that Will Hodgman is not the first Tasmanian Liberal politician to throw his weight behind renewables. Retired Senator Peter Rae is another strong supporter of renewable energy in the Tasmanian Liberal party.

Peter Rae was a senator for Tasmania between 1968 and 1986 and served in the Malcolm Fraser government. Since leaving officeRae has demonstrated leadership in renewable energy.  Between 1993-2004, Rae was chairman of the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission–the predecessor of Hydro Tasmania, the proponent of a new wind farm development on King Island (RenewEconomy). Rae was vice president of the World Wind Energy Association (now honorary VP) and is Vice Chairman of the International Renewable Energy Alliance, REN21.

Late last year Yes 2 Renewables asked former Liberal Senator Peter Rae to comment on the Abbott government’s stance on renewable energy. Here’s the exchange: 

Leigh Ewbank: Senator Rae, Crikey reports that there’s only really one supportive member of the Liberal party when it comes to wind energy–Warren Entsch. What do you make of the current batch of Liberal MPs and where you’d like them to position themselves on the technology?

Former Senator Peter Rae: Can I say, regrettably I’m no longer a senator. I’m not able to be in the party room to be able to discuss some of these issues, so i’m not really in a position to be able to say who’s ‘pro’ or who’s ‘against’ from the point of view of the party room. What I believe is that Greg Hunt (Minister for the Environment) does understand the issues. I believe that he does understand the importance of wind energy, amongst others, and I hope that his argument will prevail within the cabinet and that there will be proper support, continuing support, of the type set by the Liberal government back in the days when Robert Hill was minister.  Australia was leading the world. The Australian Greenhouse Office, the Renewable Energy Target scheme, and the rest of those (policies) were world leading. I think there’s a tradition to be upheld and I hope they uphold it.

TAKE ACTION:

  • We need your help to secure Australia’s renewable energy future! If you want to help a Yes 2 Renewables campaign to Protect The RET please email: leigh.ewbank [at] foe.org.au
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