Protesters rally against proposed axing of Renewable Energy Target

Manly #RallyForRenewables outside PM Tony Abbott's office. (Twitter: @Solar_Choice)

Renewable energy workers, businesses, solar owners and supporters around the nation have protested against the Federal Government’s proposal to axe the Renewable Energy Target.

Thousands of supporters of renewable energy have taken part in rallies across Australia to demand the retention of the renewable energy target.

The existing target is for 20 per cent of lower generation to come from renewable sources by 2020.

The federal government is considering a report it commissioned by a panel that has called for changes to the existing scheme.

The review headed up businessman and climate change sceptic, Dick Warburton calls for the scheme to be scaled back.

With the federal government's response to that review thought to be imminent, clean energy proponents have staged a national rally for renewables outside the offices of key Federal government MPs, including Tony Abbott's own electorate office in Sydney.

The Campaigns Manager at Solar Citizens, Claire O'Rourke was among several hundred people who gathered outside Mr Abbott's office in Manly. 

“The renewable energy target is predicted to create another 18 thousand solar jobs by 2020 and if the renewable energy target is cut it will see thousands of jobs lost right now and businesses close down. It will also be harder for Australians to put solar on their roof tops and get back in control of those skyrocketing power bills so what we’ve seen here is people stepping up today at rallies all around the nation to call on the government to get back to a bipartisan position on the renewable energy target which is what Australians want,” she told SBS.

Recent opinion polls show a majority of Australians support renewable energy but Prime Minister Tony Abbott has doubts.

In January, he cast doubt about the federal government's commitment to the renewable energy target during an appearance on Macquarie Radio in Sydney.

“The problem at this stage with renewable energy is that there’s always got to be a backup because sometimes the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. If the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, the power doesn’t flow,” Mr Abbott told 2GB. 

The Acting CEO of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton has told SBS Mr Abbott's misgivings about renewables are misplaced.

“Those arguments are very outdated in Australia and particularly if we look at a state like South Australia where South Australia has a lot of wind power and in fact South Australia now gets over 40 per cent of its power from wind energy. It’s power supply is very reliable and stable and it doesn’t need a whole lot of investment from other forms of energy to support wind power in South Australia.”

Claire O'Rourke from Solar Citizens says thousands of people will find themselves out of work if the government adopts the recommendations of the Warburton Review.

She says the government needs to make decisions which reflect the views of the majority.

“The government needs to get back in touch with the community on this issue. More than 80 per cent of Australians are supportive of the renewable energy targets and the government promised to keep the renewable energy target as it is before the last election. They’re walking away from that promise and it’s time they deliver to the community what they want," she told SBS.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch