Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says the coalition won’t change its support for the commonwealth’s renewable energy target (RET) despite agreeing it’s pushing up power prices.
Veteran Nationals senator Ron Boswell has urged the coalition to drop its support for a scheme meant to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply comes from renewable sources by 2020.
Senator Boswell told the Institute of Public Affairs on Wednesday the policy should be reviewed “as a matter of urgency” because it increases costs to factories, farmers and households without any benefits.
He’s previously delivered the same message to the joint coalition party room.
State governments say the RET is to blame for about half the cost of recent power price hikes because of the extra compliance costs for energy companies.
But Mr Abbott said the Howard government introduced the scheme and the coalition stood by it.
“I accept that a renewable energy target is one of the factors of the current power system which is causing prices to go up,” he told reporters in Yatala, south of Brisbane, on Thursday.
“But we have no plans to change the renewable energy target.”
Mr Abbott said there was nothing wrong with debate, nonetheless.
“I’m in favour of my colleagues having opinions.”
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