RET uncertainty condemned by Solar and Property councils

THE solar and property industries have decried continued uncertainty over the nation's renewable energy target, after political talks over the key body driving investment in the sector broke down on Tuesday.

Labor late on Tuesday walked away from weeks of private talks with the government on the new RET.

Environment spokesman Mark Butler said the government refused to budge on key issues.

The talks followed a review of the RET by climate sceptic Dick Warburton.

He called for the target to be significantly downgraded, which was one of a series of triggers of uncertainty in recent months for the renewable sector.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said the party was not willing to "sacrifice" the industry on the basis of government moves to reduce the previous target, after electricity consumption fell in the past year.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt argued, given the falls in consumption, the target should be revised down.

The move would save the government funds, but put doubt on the industry's future.

The collapse in talks with Labor, and a lack of support from The Greens and the Palmer United Party, means the Senate can block any changes if brought before parliament.

Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes said he supported Mr Shorten's decision to walk away from the talks, and that "no deal is better than a weak deal".

He said the government was not willing to properly negotiate on its position, and the failure of talks had put some 21,000 solar industry workers' jobs at risk.

While less critical of the government, Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison similarly said property development plans to investments "cannot proceed" without a plan for the future.

"The industry has laid out plans to further increase its spending on renewable energy, but that investment can't proceed without the support of the RET," he said.

"Today's announcement that the major parties can't reach a consensus on this issue has a direct impact on major Australian businesses trying to lay plans for the future.

"We urge all sides of politics to support the continuation of the RET as it currently stands to enable the property industry and other sectors to move forward with certainty."


Topics:  australia environment renewable energy target ret

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