Renewable Energy


Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle—Deputy Speaker) (11:20): I move:

That this House:

(1) recognises the investments the Government is making in cleaner, cheaper, reliable renewable energy as we undergo the transformation to net zero by 2050, including:

(a) supporting investment in 32 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable generation and storage across Australia through the expanded Capacity Investment Scheme;

(b) delivering Australian homes and businesses cheaper, cleaner energy now and into the future; and

(c) a $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia package which will help Australia become a renewable energy superpower;

(2) notes the latest GenCost report prepared by the independent expert bodies, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Energy Market Operator, found that:

(a) the cost of power from small modular nuclear reactors would be up to eight times more expensive than finned large-scale wind and solar;

(b) building just one large-scale nuclear power plant would cost up to $16 billion; and

(c) bringing nuclear online would be too slow to keep the lights on, with GenCost confirming that 'the first full operation would be no sooner than 2040' for small modular nuclear reactors, and years later for large-scale nuclear reactors; and

(3) agrees that the Opposition's risky reactor thought bubble is not a viable solution for energy shortages between now and 2040, after 24 coal plants totalling 26.7 GW announced closure dates under the former Government.

I rise to speak to this motion moved in my name. I'm very proud to be part of an Albanese Labor government that takes climate change and energy security seriously. We remain steadfastly committed to delivering the clean, cheap, reliable and resilient renewable energy that Australians want and deserve as we undergo the transformation to net zero by 2050. We took this commitment to the Australian people, who gave us the mandate to implement our plan in government.

In just over two years, the Albanese Labor government has made massive progress on our reliable renewables plan, with now a 25 per cent increase of renewable energy into our grid. Through our government's expanded Capacity Investment Scheme, renewable generation and storage capacity will increase to 32 gigawatts by 2050. The scheme, designed to encourage new investment in renewable growth industries, such as wind, solar and battery storage, will bring more jobs and investment into carbon-intensive regions like Newcastle and the Hunter as well as ensuring cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy to Australian homes and businesses now and into the future. The government's $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia package will help Australia become a renewable energy superpower and deliver good jobs for Australians.

Newcastle and the Hunter have helped power Australian households and industries for generations, and it is regions like mine that will continue to do so for generations to come. Newcastle has the world-class infrastructure, deepwater port, highly skilled workforce, abundant resources and energy smarts to be a lead in the transformation to renewables. That's why Labor is making targeted investments into Newcastle. We've invested $70 million in Origin to help develop a Hunter hydrogen hub in collaboration with Orica. Two out of the six national projects shortlisted for the $4 billion Hydrogen Headstart program are based in Newcastle. Last week, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy was in Newcastle to announce that a feasibility licence had been given to Novocastrian Wind, a joint project between Equinor and Oceanex which is the next step in building a new offshore wind industry in Australia. If approved, the Novocastrian wind farm will create 3,120 construction jobs and another 1,560 ongoing operational jobs in Newcastle and the Hunter.

North-west of Newcastle, plans are underway to manufacture world-leading solar cells at the old Liddell coal-fired power station. The solar project will employ hundreds of people, more than were ever actually employed when the power station was in fact operational. At the Port of Newcastle, construction has started on a new low-carbon manufacturing plant that will, in partnership with an amazing local manufacturer, MCi Carbon, transform more than 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum and provide decarbonisation pathways for hard-to-abate sectors, including steel, cement, mining, chemicals and manufacturing.

We're training our future workforce to ensure we have a future made in Newcastle by investing 600,000 fee-free TAFE places, providing $10,000 to support new energy apprentices over the course of their apprenticeship and investing $16 million at the University of Newcastle new energy skills hub.

In stark contrast to Labor's track record, the same people who told us that we didn't need to worry about climate change for the last 10 years are now telling us that the answer to climate change is nuclear. They didn't do anything about that when they had the chance. The Australian people are right to call out this nuclear nonsense as being nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract us from renewables. This is reckless policymaking at its worst. Nuclear energy is wrong for Australia. It is too expensive, too slow to keep the lights on and far too risky. Indeed, CSIRO's GenCost calculations found that nuclear is not economically competitive with renewables and will take at least 15 years to build. That is not the government saying this; these are the findings of the independent and much-respected CSIRO. They go on to note that the long development times mean that nuclear won't be able to make a significant contribution to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

There is much to be said about taking notice of science based evidence in Australia. I would say that there is much that we don't know about the opposition's plans, and the Australian people have every right to ask questions. What I do know is that every scientist and expert is backing Labor's renewable reliable plan.