(Questions Without Notice, 10 September 2015, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament)
My question is directed to the Minister for the Environment. Given that expert assessment of the Federal Government's latest climate change commitment is that it does nothing to change the behaviour of big polluters or to support renewable energy, what leadership will the New South Wales Government show to tackle climate change by setting stronger targets for increasing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse emissions?
Response from the Minister for the Environment:
I thank the member for Sydney for his question and note his strong interest in effective action on climate change. New South Wales is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources and an enterprising business sector that is creating new, sustainable jobs and providing green services for export interstate and internationally. We are also a blessed by communities statewide that are keen to do their bit to avoid dangerous climate change and by a government of action on climate change. Our NSW Energy Efficiency Action Plan, NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan and a government energy action plan are driving investment in new jobs, reducing electricity bills and making the Government a leader in sustainability. We are making New South Wales the home for green jobs in Australia. Helped by strong New South Wales Government leadership, the Sydney finance and services sector is well positioned to become a centre for green services in the Asia-Pacific.
Our NSW Energy Efficiency Action Plan is delivering new jobs to tradies and energy efficiency professionals. We are working hard to meet our ambitious 16,000 gigawatt hour target for annual energy savings for households and businesses. We have a strong target for energy efficiency to keep faith with our commitment to use energy efficiency to drive down bills. Our Energy Savings Scheme is internationally recognised as one of the most efficient and effective ways to reduce energy bills—building the resilience of our communities, keeping downward pressure on prices, reducing emissions and, importantly, reducing electricity bills for consumers. The comparison with our opponents could not be starker. Let us not forget the hundreds of millions of dollars that Labor slammed consumers with through the Solar Bonus Scheme. It was supposed to have a budget of $350 million. Where did it go? Up to $1.7 billion.
Only Labor would introduce incentives without modelling the uptake and hit people where it hurt—in the hip pocket. Under Robbo the Magnificent, our Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, we have a pipeline for renewable energy that will deliver jobs, jobs and jobs for regional New South Wales. We have always supported strong targets on renewable energy. We supported the national 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.
We then supported the original 41,000 gigawatt hour target being retained, sending a clear signal to investors about our support for renewables. But targets should not be limits. In New South Wales last year energy from renewable resources apart from hydro increased by 15 per cent. The data shows that there is $900 million worth of renewable projects under construction, which will create 300 direct jobs and 7,000 indirect jobs. In addition, $5.3 billion is approved for renewable energy projects, creating 13,000 direct jobs and 30,000 indirect jobs. We are seeking approval for $7 billion in projects that will create 24,000 direct jobs and 57,000 indirect jobs. We are a government of action on renewable energy. We established the position of the Renewable Energy Advocate to help with projects in New South Wales and we are making key investments in new technologies. The Liberal-Nationals have helped capture more than $582 million of Australian Government funding for 104 renewable energy projects so that New South Wales will be the leading State in large-scale solar installation and renewable energy development.
The New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government has contributed $65 million out of $440 million to the construction of Australia's largest commercial solar plants at Nyngan and Broken Hill under the Solar Flagships Project, in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, AGL and First Solar. Those investments are fundamental to a bright solar future for regional New South Wales. To the member for Sydney I say that on climate change we need governments of action. That is why we have promoted a strong national renewable energy target and why we have a strong New South Wales energy efficiency target. Unlike Labor's failed schemes, we are doing this in a fiscally responsible way that protects the vulnerable and their energy bills.
See Hansard record HERE