A COMMONWEALTH funded green agency that saved 75 jobs in Portland this year will be dumped by a Coalition government because it is financed by the carbon tax, Wannon MP Dan Tehan says.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) stepped in to help Portland wind tower maker Keppel Prince secure a contract at the New South Wales Taralga wind farm in July by paying for the difference between cheap overseas wind towers and locally made ones.
But Mr Tehan said the corporation would face the policy scrap heap under a Coalition government.
Renewable energy has not rated a mention in the Wannon political debate despite being a burgeoning south-west industry.
Hundreds of wind towers and wave energy projects are proposed across the region.
But the Coalition is planning on taking an axe to renewable programs to find billions in savings.
“The corporation is financed by the carbon tax which will be repealed by a Coalition government,” Mr Tehan said.
“The Coalition has made it very clear that we will support a renewable energy target (RET) for 20 per cent by 2020.”
Support for the RET means backing subsidies to make the projects cheaper.
“I think the community wants to see renewable energy but wants to ensure that it is affordable,” Mr Tehan said.
He also deflected the issue to Labor, saying “under Labor one manufacturing job has gone every 19 minutes”.
A number of Coalition MPs and senators also want the RET scrapped or at least downsized to remove subsidies.
Mr Tehan dodged questions on whether he would support the RET if it was challenged from inside the party room. “You always get diverse views within the party,” he said,
Keppel Prince general manager Steve Garner said the CEFC had been crucial in saving jobs at the plant.
“I’d be saying to Dan Tehan that this has been significant in assisting proponents to get the projects up and running.
“We would have been terminating all our people.”
Earlier this year opposition industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella personally assured Keppel Prince factory workers that the Coalition would maintain the other policy for the 20 per cent RET target.
Wannon Greens candidate Tim Emanuelle said the Coalition’s plans for the CEFC would “take a wrecking ball to the renewable energy sector.”
“You won’t be able to reach the (RET) target without that funding,” Mr Emanuelle said.
“It’s now cheaper to build renewable energy than it is to build coal-fired power stations.”