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The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program responds to the Labor Party’s renewable energy plan announced today as a welcome step in the right direction.

“Australia’s electricity sector is in dire need of ambitious and integrated climate and energy policy. Labor’s announcement today is a strong step in the right direction,” says Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at The Australia Institute.

“Australia Institute research shows 53% renewable energy capacity by 2030 would create up to 59,000 direct jobs across the country. Policies that implement Labor’s renewable target of 50% would help drive the jobs necessary to transition to low carbon electricity.

“While in Australia, Joseph Stiglitz highlighted the crucial role Governments can play to assist workers during industrial transitions. This proposed authority is sorely needed to target jobs support for impacted communities so Australia’s coal communities are not left behind.

“A nationwide battery installation program capable of providing Australians the technology to autonomously lower electricity bills and emissions, would be an Australian first and a welcome innovation.

“Billion dollar investments in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will shore up renewables on the grid through storage, drive innovation, create jobs in new industries and make a return on investment.

“This is in stark contrast to the Federal Government’s slavish commitment to underwrite new, high-polluting and financially risky coal-fired power stations.

“A National Energy Guarantee (NEG) could provide a welcome mechanism to tackle emissions, prices and reliability, and help fill the shortfall in investor confidence.

“A critical component of any proposed approach is the emissions reduction outcome and a 45% electricity sector target which will need to be complemented by strong climate action in other sectors of the economy.

“Australia Institute research demonstrates higher renewable energy and emissions reduction targets is needed in order to meet the shared goal of avoiding dangerous climate change and that it is possible with minimal impact on the economy.

“It is crucial that regular and early review mechanisms are built in to increase targets in line with Australia’s obligation to periodically lift its ambition under the Paris Agreement. A future Labor government should formally submit is new targets to the UNFCCC under the Paris agreement as soon as possible, were they to come to government.”

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