Posted on 20. Mar, 2012 in Victoria

The Baillieu Government’s failure to support the renewable energy sector could harm investment and jobs growth in regional Victoria, Shadow Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio warned today.

Meeting with members of the Warrnambool City Council, Ms D’Ambrosio said Warrnambool was a great example of a region that had benefited from investment in renewable energy projects.

A study by the Great South Coast showed that renewable and clean energy projects planned for the region could create 5486 construction jobs alone.

“Renewable energy doesn’t just generate clean energy, it creates jobs in rural and regional areas, Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Unfortunately, during the past 16 months the Baillieu Government has undermined the Great South Coast’s plans for a pipeline of local jobs in the energy sector.

“The Baillieu Government’s record in renewable energy is poor. It has failed to back wind energy targets, has scrapped the premium solar feed-in tariff scheme, and has imposed harsh planning restrictions for wind farms that will strangle the wind energy industry.

“This region is growing, with more families moving to the area. According to the study, another 1500 jobs will need to be generated by 2016 to keep up with the population growth. Most of these jobs were expected to come from a bonanza of investment in renewable energy projects.

“The Minister for Energy, Michael O’Brien, has been silent on the importance of the renewable energy sector to local jobs. It’s time the Minister visited Victoria’s South West and saw the enormous economic benefits the sector has brought to regions like Moyne, Glenelg and Warrnambool”.

In 2002, Liberal State Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine publicly declared his support for Portland to “become the renewable energy hub of Australia, which would bring major investment and job creation to the region”.

“Mr Naphine’s previous support for the renewable energy sector is a complete contradiction to his Government’s current action to kill off the wind energy industry and failure to back a renewable energy target”, Ms D’Ambrosio said.

Ms D’Ambrosio said that Victorian Labor’s energy target policy would have set Victoria up to win big dollars in industry investment, promoting green skills and generating jobs.

“The Baillieu Government needs to ‘get real’ and take the renewable energy sector seriously”, she said.

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