Tony Abbott has signalled next year’s review of the renewable energy target could wind back, or even scrap, the scheme, saying lower power prices are the government’s primary goal and the rationale for the RET no longer exists.
Announcing modest government assistance for Holden, the prime minister also revealed he would chair a new taskforce to find ways to make industry more competitive, with reducing the cost of energy a primary aim.
Asked whether that could involve scaling back the RET, which was set up by the Howard government and requires energy retailers and large customers to source a proportion of their energy from renewable sources, Abbott said: “We support sensible use of renewable energy, and as you know it was former Howard government which initially gave us the RET and at the time it was important because we made very little use of renewable energy.”
But times had changed, he said.
“We have to accept that in the changed circumstances of today, the renewable energy target is causing pretty significant price pressure in the system and we ought to be an affordable energy superpower … cheap energy ought to be one of our comparative advantages … what we will be looking at is what we need to do to get power prices down significantly,” he said.
Abbott said he would also “consult closely” with his Business Advisory Council, chaired by Maurice Newman, as the taskforce looked for ways to increase industry competitiveness.