Kane Thornton

18 November 2013 — Jobs in clean tech are at risk of being offshored by federal government policy instability, the peak body for the clean energy sector has said.

Deputy chief executive of the Clean Energy Council Kane Thornton said that cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced by the Coalition Government last week would mean many companies would be considering moving off-shore to countries where support for renewable energy innovation was stronger and more stable.

“Successive governments have now reduced and altered the level of ARENA’s funding during the short period since it was established,” Mr Thornton said.

“This unstable policy environment has had a clear impact on major technology innovators, developers and financiers, who will understandably be questioning their future in Australia.”

Mr Thornton said while the industry understood the budget pressures faced by the government, the changes to ARENA could undo the progress made by technologies including large-scale solar, marine, geothermal and energy storage.

“ARENA has enjoyed bi-partisan support since its establishment, recognising the importance of developing new technologies in delivering a cleaner, smarter and lower-cost energy system – and the major benefits in jobs and investment that follow,” he said.

“The government gave repeated commitments on its support for ARENA prior to the election and it is disappointing that the agency is now facing a significant budget reduction.”

The bill that has been drafted to repeal the carbon price includes a provision to reduce ARENA funding for new projects by $435 million over the next three years.