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Labor wants Australia to go green during economic recovery

Sky News Australia logo Sky News Australia 6 days ago Sky News Australia

The man in charge of Labor’s now axed energy policies which helped lead the party to a catastrophic election defeat last year has dismissed calls for an “immediate” investment into gas industries to save Australia from economic ruin.

Labor climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler told Sky News the government should focus more on renewable energy as he dismissed calls from the National COVID-19 Commission to urgently bolster gas and manufacturing jobs to unlock billions of dollars in GDP.

“I’m reluctant to place too much emphasis on leaked reports that have not yet been received by the government, but I think there are some real questions from the government to answer about this report if they are intending to follow it,” he said.

“There is no cheap gas in the eastern market. If you ask any of the gas companies the cheap gas that we used to rely upon has largely been depleted.

“It does seem a little bit singular in its focus on gas rather than a range of other technologies that don’t seem to have been considered by this group.”

Mr Butler was responsible for a series of uncosted energy policies in which Labor took to the 2019 election, including the 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 which was blamed in part for the party’s electoral demise.

He said the Coalition should focus on “cleaner” technologies than gas.

“Renewable energy is not just the cheapest but also the cleanest way to renew an ageing and increasingly unreliable electricity system,” he said.

“We want the cheapest and most reliable energy system.

“Gas, by contrast, has become more expensive over the last few years because the tripling of gas prices that followed the opening of the LNG export operations in Gladstone.

“The market is going to determine this to some degree but obviously also we have got to take into consideration the greenhouse emissions from gas.

“You are seeing investors and regulators around the world, including here in Australia, say that investment, economic stimulus, needed to bring us out of the COVID pandemic and the economic recession that is flowing from it needs to take consideration of these carbon issues.”

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