Minister invites Labor to renewables talks

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has invited Labor to the table as the government considers changes to the renewable energy target (RET).

Federal ministers are working on a response to a review by businessman Dick Warburton into the RET – a bipartisan target to achieve 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

Mr Macfarlane said the government was genuine about its offer to discuss the future of the target with all political parties, businesses and the community.

He said no one was talking about scrapping the scheme in its entirety, as the government wanted to encourage business investment and household installation of solar cells.

“If we continue with a period of hiatus where the Labor party is not prepared to negotiate anything, then in the end it will be the renewable energy industry that loses,” Mr Macfarlane said in Queanbeyan on Monday.

“We need to resolve this issue.”

The Warburton review recommended either scrapping the RET or significantly scaling it back.

Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler says the opposition wants the target to remain bipartisan.

But the government was putting jobs and investment at risk by a “blind ideological opposition” to renewable energy, illustrated by cuts to climate agencies and scaling back of funding for the industry, he said.


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