LABOR is pledging today to make Australia the energy capital of Asia with a massive renewal of its commitment to renewable power sources.
In a direct challenge to the Coalition’s coal-based political campaign, Labor would relegate fossil fuels to a secondary power sources.
And it is calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to join a major promotion of wind and solar investment.
The objective would be to get a slice of the $US7.8 trillion expected to be invested in renewables — and related employment — globally in the next 20 years.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will use a speech in Sydney to appeal for consensus rather than political conflict over energy solutions.
And he will taunt the Prime Minister for once being “the renaissance man of climate change” who had recently switched positions.
“The Prime Minister personally appreciates the advantage of renewable energy. Which is why it’s so disappointing to watch him attacking the renewable energy industry and hurting jobs,” Mr Shorten will tell a Bloomberg function today.
He will say Australia had big resources of sun and wind — the type of boast once used to promote our coal reserves.
“We are the world’s sunniest continent, one of the windiest places on earth and our universities, research centres and firms keep producing leaders in the field,” Mr Shorten will say.
“We won’t win in our region by cutting wages or importing skills — but we can win by being smarter with energy. We can be the energy capital of Asia.
“And if Australia nails the energy question, we will collect a growth dividend that can set us up for the century.”
Labor will present renewable energy output as an important job creator, and accuse the Turnbull government of blocking that employment growth.
“After being rated one of the four most attractive destinations in the world for renewable energy investment in 2013, we now don’t even crack the top 10,” says Mr Shorten’s speech.
“In the last three years, the world has added nearly three million jobs in renewable energy — and Australia has lost 3000.”
Labor is confident the government has not succeeded in branding renewables as unreliable and expensive.
An Essential poll released Tuesday found 64 per cent of voters thought renewables were the solution to our energy problems, while 65 per cent supported Labor’s ambition to reach 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Mr Shorten will accuse Mr Turnbull of having “declared ‘the battlelines are drawn’ on energy policy”.