Polling by Crosby Textor has been released today clearly showing that Australian voters across the political spectrum want more renewable energy, the Clean Energy Council said.
Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the polling showed extremely strong support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET), a policy that had generated billions of dollars of investment and tens of thousands of jobs – but which is currently under threat.
“More than 80 per cent of those polled wanted the RET left alone. While there are clearly differing views within the Federal Government in regards to the future of the RET, the Crosby Textor polling commissioned by Pacific Hydro shows 70 per cent of Liberal voters want the target left alone to do its job,” Mr Thornton said.
“Significantly, this support has strengthened over the last year during a period of sustained attack by some public commentators.
“There were some small differences in the polling results depending on people’s political alignment, but they are much less stark than some would expect. No matter whether they typically vote Liberal, Labor or Green, people want more renewable energy and they want the RET left alone to keep doing what it does best – deliver more solar, wind, bioenergy and more for Australia, along with lots of regional jobs and economic activity,” he said.
A government decision on the RET is pending following the release last week of a report into the review of the policy. The report recommended shutting down the scheme to new entrants or dramatically cutting it back, both of which would destroy a growing industry which employs 21,000 people.
Mr Thornton said many influential organisations and individuals had spoken out in support of the RET in the last year, from NSW Resources and Energy Mininster Anthony Roberts and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to federal MP Sarah Henderson and former Liberal politician Michael Kroger.
“These people clearly recognise the importance of the RET in encouraging investment and jobs across the economy,” he said.
“It’s easy to understand why the broader community are such strong supporters of renewable energy. With the recent review again proving that cutting the RET would not deliver power bill savings, the political support for retaining the policy continues to grow.”
Comments from key Coalition figures include:
“Can I make clear, the Coalition supports the current system, including the 41,000 gigwatt hour target. We know and appreciate that the industry wants certainty.” - Simon Birmingham, federal Parliamentary Secretary, July 2013
“As I have made clear over a long period of time, I am a strong supporter of renewable energy. That’s why our government’s Renewable Energy Target is so important. My campaign of positivity for Corangamite and Geelong means investing in the long-term, sustainable jobs of the future. The RET is helping deliver those opportunities.” - Sarah Henderson, federal MP, July 2014
“The RET is good for consumers…the government should refrain from abolishing the target.” - Michael Kroger, former Liberal politician, August 2014.
“We’re committed to keeping the RET because of the pre-election commitment and it’s been an effective way of reducing emissions.” - Greg Hunt, Federal Environment Minister, February 2014.
“We support the position to keep the Renewable Energy Target in place.” - Senators Eric Abetz, David Bushby, Richard Colbeck, Stephen Parry (Tasmania), August 2014.
“I want to make it clear as Premier and as local member that I strongly support the renewable energy target. Our message to the federal government and to Canberra is stick to the renewable energy target.” - Denis Napthine, Victorian Premier, August 2014.