In a speech to the House of Representatives on Monday, Clive Palmer took the Warburton Review and the Government’s attitude to renewable energy to task.
It appears Mr. Palmer believes the Renewable Energy Target review was a waste of taxpayer money.
“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Dick Warburton and his team in taking six months, spending $6 million and reading 23,000 submissions to reveal what we already knew: the RET brings new companies with cheaper prices into the market. It looks like the only winners from this proposal will be the big energy companies,” said Mr. Palmer.
Recent modeling demonstrates that even if the Renewable Energy Target wasn’t abolished but instead reduced, it would provide a $10 billion profit bonanza for coal and gas-fired power generators; while households and businesses would pay more for electricity.
“Why would we reward the same companies that have been ripping off Aussies for decades?”, said Mr. Palmer.
He also reminded the Government of its pre-election commitments.
“The Prime Minister said in 2011: ‘We have no plans to change the renewable energy target.’ The Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, and the then energy spokesman, Ian Macfarlane, said before the election: ‘The coalition is not proposing and has not proposed any changes to the target.’. Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, said: ‘Can I make clear, the Coalition supports the current [RET] system, including the 41,000 GWh target.'”
Mr. Palmer told the House that the Renewable Energy Target has generated $20 billion of investment already and could generate another $14.5 billion out to 2020, “simply if the government kept its election promises”.
He also challenged Prime Minister Abbott to admit that he was mistaken about the impact of the Renewable Energy Target on power bills. The Prime Minister had repeatedly stated the RET was putting significant upward pressure on electricity prices.
“If the government is truly concerned about the cost-of-living pressure on Australian families, as it has repeatedly claimed, then it would be announcing today that it has no intention of making any changes to the RET.”
Mr Palmer said his home state of Queensland is a solar stronghold; with 400,000 homes with solar power systems generating 1.1 gigawatts of electricity; making Queensland rooftops the fourth-largest power station in the state.
The full text of Mr Palmer’s speech can be viewed here (PDF)