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States drop renewable energy targets: PM  

State governments want to scrap mandatory targets for renewable energy sources, Prime Minister John Howard says.

Under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) scheme, two per cent of all electricity generated is supposed to come from renewable sources like wind and solar power.

Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd has previously called for the target to be lifted to five per cent.

Labor backbencher Michael Danby on Wednesday asked Mr Howard when the government would substantially increase MRET.

Mr Danby said recycling company Global Renewables was quitting Australia because the country was not serious about renewable energy.

“Prime Minister, when will the government seriously examine renewable energy and substantially increase the mandatory renewable energy target?” Mr Danby asked.

But Mr Howard said he understood the eight Labor state and territory governments were planning to scrap MRET altogether.

“I have been told in briefing sessions from officials representing the eight Labor state and territory jurisdictions of Australia that, in advocating the national emissions trading scheme which the eight Labor states and territories want, part of the package is a phase-out of mandatory renewable energy targets because they are incompatible with the notion of a national emissions trading scheme,” Mr Howard told parliament.

Later, he read from photocopies of a slide presentation of a March 21 briefing from state officials given to his task group on emissions trading.

Under the heading “relationship with other measures” was a dot point saying “other schemes – run their course and not renewed”, Mr Howard said.

“And then in brackets it reads `MRET, VRET’, which is a Victorian renewable energies trading scheme, `NRET’ I think was Northern Territory and `Queensland 13 per cent gas scheme’,” he said.

“The point I’m making is that simultaneously with the member asking me a question which exhorts me to increase the mandatory renewable target, his party has a policy to phase them out.”

Mr Howard said Global Renewables was relocating to Britain because it had won a $5 billion waste management contract in Lancashire.

“The government supported Global Renewables’ bid for this contract, including letters of support and meetings with UK officials,” he said.


28 March 2007

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