Family First senator Bob Day has asked Tony Abbott and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane to delay a vote to change the Renewable Energy Target for six months, until the conclusion of a Senate inquiry into wind turbines.
Any lengthy delay to the scheme is likely to frustrate the renewables sector and energyintensive businesses, which have urged the Prime Minister to end the RET stalemate.
Senator Day said he had heard “harrowing” evidence about the impact of wind turbines on humans and animals during the inquiry’s first hearing last month and wanted to know all the “facts and figures” before a RET deal was reached. “I think it’s not unreasonable to ask that we don’t come to any agreement on the Renewable Energy Target until such time that we get to the bottom of this,” he said.
“I’m not talking about ending the RET, I’m just talking about ‘let’s defer the decision on it’. Nothing’s going to happen in the next six months anyway. It’s more important to do this right than do this quick.”
Labor has backed a compromise from the Clean Energy Council, which would cut the large-scale RET from 41,000GWh by 2020 to 33,500GWh, but the government’s final offer remains at 32,000GWh.
Without support from Labor or the Greens the government needs six crossbench votes to see legislation pass the Senate.
Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, who is also on the wind turbine committee, said he had given the government’s RET offer conditional support.
Senator Leyonhjelm said he was much more likely to support the government’s target if there was less of a “big leg up” to the wind power industry.
“Ian Macfarlane is doing the rounds in an effort to get six votes,” he said. “I think he probably will get six votes. (The government) will have my vote, with conditions. I’m not a fan of wind turbines, they are killing birds and they are also making some people sick.
“My support for 32,000GWh relates to not giving a particularly big leg up to wind and giving more scope for other sources.”
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