The Morrison government has now promised $2 billion to the Emissions Reduction Fund over 10 years, as well as 2,500 grants totalling $50m for businesses and community organisations for energy efficiency projects. These policies attempt to redress climate change concerns being raised by some voters and are accompanied by an additional $17m to help building owners benchmark energy use.
The Emissions Reduction Fund revamp will be relabelled the Climate Solutions Fund and includes funding for bush fire prevention for Indigenous Australians, small business energy bill reductions and farmers looking to revegetate and drought-proof farms.
Scott Morrison has declared his intention to take “meaningful, practical action on climate change, without damaging our economy or the family budget” and argues that Labor’s targets “depend on shutting industries and businesses down.”
On a state level, NSW Labor commits to at least 50% share of renewables in its electricity consumption by 2030 and a 7GW renewable rollout in advance of the election, on top of the 2GW of rooftop solar expected to be added through its solar rebate program.
Labor’s Shadow Energy Minister Adam Searle cites the plan as sending a clear signal to investors and developers ahead of coal retirements.
Amid recent reports that rooftop and large-scale solar are having a positive effect on regulating peak demand during the recent heatwave, whilst two of three brown coal-fired generators in Victoria were out of action, government action around energy and climate change will no doubt be welcomed by consumers.