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building medium and large scale solar power plants.

The renewable energy industry is a young, sustainable and

promising industry that has the ability to open doors in the sense of

new investment, new industry and increased employment. For

example, Port Augusta currently faces a choice to become home to

Australia’s first solar thermal plant as its large coal-fired station is

being closed down. The realisation of the Port Augusta solar plant

alone would create 1885 jobs over the span of 6 years while the

current gas industry there would only provide 456 jobs over 2 years

and the coal, 250 jobs.


If so much information and research is stacked in favour of

renewable energy, why is consequent action not being taken by the

government? Australia is clearly not lacking in resources nor

technology. No, what we lack is far worse – the moral ethics, social

will and political agenda. Many politicians are unwilling to support

the policy changes we need and have been postponing decisions in

this area for too long. For years, they have continued supporting coal

mining and gas industries as they hand out copious subsidies for

fossil fuel use and production. In 2001, Australia’s subsidies for the

fossil fuel related market alone exceeded $6.5 billion. Between 2005

and 2006, Australia’s subsidies for the Energy Market ranged from

$9.3 to $10.1 billion. In Queensland, the State Government has

poured almost $7 billion in subsidies into the coal seam gas industry

in the past five years.


In total, the subsidies for fossil fuels account

for 96%, with only 4% for renewable technologies.


In fact, the Australian government and some Australian companies

have actually planned multiple projects of massive coal expansion

which would take the planet beyond the point of no return if they

were to go ahead. Australia’s coal and mining industry are our largest

income industries and are currently comfortably thriving from sales,

but in reality, how long can we continue relying on them? The

Australian Energy Market Commission identified in its recent report

that the three main causes of rising prices of electricity and energy

were the investment in an ageing infrastructure, the augmentation of

the cost of fossil fuels and uncertainty about carbon pricing.


The system may have once worked, but as our world advances,

Australia needs to as well. The Australian Government must to look

at different pathways to boost our economy. The effects of climate

change can only exacerbate economical trouble which is already

The Australian


Must Stop

Fuelling The

Coal Industry

And Start

Investing In

100% Renewable




Data from Beyond Zero

Emissions: Zero Carbon

Australia Stationary

Energy Report, 2011


Data from Climate

Institute and Australian

Research Group’s

Marginal Electorates

Election Campaign Poll,

November 2007


Data from Energy Policy

of Australia, Wikipedia,

last modified in May



Data from the

Australian Energy

Market Commission

Report, 2012