Victorian environment groups say a Liberal election pledge for $50 million-plus renewable energy projects to use 75 per cent local materials is putting the horse before the cart when it comes to energy policy.
Environment Victoria campaigns manager Nicholas Aberle said on Wednesday they supported the announcement but wanted a commitment to build clean energy.
“The first test of any plan to build renewable energy is simple: how much wind and solar power will be built on your watch?” Dr Aberle said.
“With the Liberal party’s current commitment to scrap the Victorian Renewable Energy Target, they are promising to strangle the clean energy industry in this state.
“There are no clean energy jobs at all if you’re not building any clean energy.”
The criticism comes after opposition leader Matthew Guy announced if elected in November, renewable energy projects over $50 million would need to use 75 per cent Victorian content from materials, supplies and labour.
“We want them made in Victoria. We have set an ambitious target,” he told reporters at an engineering firm in the state’s southwest.
“This announcement is about jobs and that’s why renewables are our future, we have to make sure we are capturing much of that market here in Victoria.
“We believe there will be a mix of generation into the future and renewables will absolutely be a part of that.”
Under the proposal, firms that do not meet the requirements would need to prove local supply is not available or capable, in order to get planning approval.
Friends of the Earth spokesman Leigh Ewbank said time was running out for Mr Guy to deliver a climate change policy before the election.
“The Federal Coalition government’s failure to address climate change leaves Victorian communities exposed to intensifying impacts such as bushfire risk … drought,” he said.
“Community members expect all political parties to have clear plans to rein in emissions and protect the community from climate impacts.”