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Business calls for RET compromise as Shorten gives ground

Peak business groups have called on the Government to compromise on the higher Renewable Energy Target (RET), in order to provide certainty the renewable energy sector.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Aluminium Council, the Bureau of Steel Manufacturers of Australia, the Cement Industry Federation, the Energy Users Association of Australia and the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council all signed a statement urging the Government and the Opposition to end the current impasse.

Noting the Government is backing an RET of 32,000 GWh while the Opposition would prefer 33,500 GWh, the statement said a compromise of 33,000 GWh should be accepted by both sides.

“Failing to agree on the Renewable Energy Target will continue to block investment in renewable energy generation and in electricity supply. It will also impose significant unnecessary costs on industry that relies on electricity,” the statement read.

For his part, Opposition Leader Bill Short has agreed to the compromise. He told ABC Radio that he will seek endorsement on the issue from his MPs.

“Industry has said enough is enough. Labor is saying that enough is enough,” Shorten said.

“This game has gone on too long. The government is killing the renewable energy industry. We’ll have a look at it if they say 33,000 if they’re serious and whether industry could live with it, and we’ll take it to our caucus.

Last week, Liberal backbenchers Dan Tehan broke ranks and said he supported the 33,000 GWh compromise.

He has since been supported by the LNP member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

"Both parties need to agree on an amended renewable energy target because this situation is very disruptive to industry," O'Dowd told the Gladstone Observer.

"If that means raising our target slightly to satisfy all stakeholders, then that's what we have to do. I agree with Dan Tehan (who has also issued the challenge) 100%."

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