Anthony Albanese. Image: Wikipedia.

Powering Australia

The Powering Australia Plan is focused on jobs, emissions and energy costs, with a plan to transition to 82 per cent renewables grid by 2030 and unlock $55 billion of public and private investment. 

The plan will generate an estimated $76 billion in investment and create 604,000 jobs by 2030, with 5 out of 6 new jobs to be created in the regions, according to research from Reputex

  • The $20 billion Rewiring the Nation plan to upgrade the electricity grid by laying 10,000 kilometres of new transmission lines, and connecting Tasmania’s hydropower and renewables to the East Coast transmission network via the Marinus Link. 
  • The $1.9 billion Powering the Regions Fund will invest in regional industries towards decarbonisation. 

Zero emissions vehicles 

  • The $500 million Driving the Nation Fund will install electric vehicle charging infrastructure at 117 highway sites and hydrogen highways for key freight routes. 
  • A $345 million Electric Car Discount will exempt eligible electric cars from fringe benefits tax (FBT) and the 5 per cent import tariff, in a bid to encourage uptake. 
  • The government’s fleet will be 75 per cent electric by 2025 in a bid to contribute to a second-hand market. 

Community batteries for households 

  • The $224.3 million Community Batteries for Household Solar Program will assist up to 100,000 households to reduce their power bills by providing up to 400 community batteries for solar power. 
  • A further $102.2 million will go towards the Community Solar Banks program for up to 25,000 households. 

Green workforce

  • Over $100 million will go to New Energy Apprenticeships and New Energy Skills programs, to help apprentices acquire necessary skills in the clean energy sector by developing a new mentoring program and providing up to $10,000 for each apprentice in a clean energy role.
  • $62.6 million to improve small and medium-sized businesses’ energy efficiency

Safeguarding and transparency 

  • The Australian public service’s climate expertise will be improved through a $39.1 million investment which will improve the Treasury’s climate modelling capability.
  • Alongside 43 per cent legislated emissions reductions by 2030, the Safeguard Mechanism will be reformed to support emissions reduction and align the economy with the green boom. 
  • A further $42.6 million will go towards reinstating the Climate Change Authority, introducing an Annual Climate Change Statement to Parliament and increasing transparency around climate-related spending in the Budget.

First Nations climate knowledge

  • First Nations communities will receive $105.2 million to respond to climate change through a First Nations Clean Energy Strategy and Community Microgrids Program, and a new Torres Strait Climate Change Centre of Excellence.
  • $66.5 million over five years will go to Indigenous Protected Areas.
  • $14.7 million will support First Nations-led action to identify and protect heritage places, including new World Heritage listings for the Murujuga Cultural Landscape and Flinders Ranges.

Environmental protection

An investment of $1.8 billion will go towards programs to protect, restore and manage the environment.

  • An initial investment of $91.1 million over 6 years will clean up and restore urban waterways. 
  • A further $224.5 million will go to threatened species, including implementing the Threatened Species Action Plan (2022–2032).
  • $1.2 billion by 2030 towards the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
  • $15.3 million towards the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre in Gladstone, Central Queensland. 
  • $117.1 million to assessment and compliance activities continue while broader planning is undertaken to improve the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Disaster resilience and preparedness 

  • $38.3 million for Disaster Relief Australia for more than 5000 extra volunteers, on top of the existing $3 billion in the contingency reserve to meet disaster recovery costs from this years’ flooding events.
  • $200 million a year to the Disaster Ready Fund for prevention and resilience initiatives – for flood levees, sea walls, cyclone shelters, evacuation centres and fire breaks.
  • $22.6 million over four years to help reduce the cost of insurance in disaster prone communities.

Regional areas

  • $7.4 billion for regional infrastructure and development, including the Precincts and Partnerships Program, the Priority Community Infrastructure Program, Investing in Our Communities Program, and the Growing Regions Program.
  • $22 million in the Lansdown advanced manufacturing precinct.

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  1. The announced budget measures represent a very welcome turn in federal government policy on Climate Change. But, out of the 30.8 billion allocated, only 0.2% is earmarked for energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency has said for 15 years that energy efficiency will contribute more emissions reductions than renewables. In Europe and the US energy efficiency is called the first fuel, because it is the cheapest way to reduce emissions reductions. All governments of all political colours obsesses over the price per kilowatt hour of electricity, but the cost – your bill – can be reduced immediately through energy efficiency which means you don’t use as many kilowatt hours. It is particularly important for low-income households who don’t have the money to buy more efficient appliances or their home. And, it has been proven that energy efficiency contributes to economic growth. As good as the budget measures are, there is still a gaping hole in the policy response without major investment in energy efficiency.