RENEWABLE energy operators in the south-west have remained silent after the state government announced it would drop its Victoria-specific carbon target.
Nanjing Night Net

Environment Minister Ryan Smith yesterday released the findings of the independent review which was triggered by the federal government’s carbon tax package last year.

The review found that dual state and national emissions targets would impose additional costs on Victorian households, leading Spring Street to axe its greenhouse gas reduction deadline of 20 per cent by 2020.

“The days of spending large amounts of Victorian taxpayers’ money on expensive advertisements, symbolic gestures, meetings and seminars are over,” Mr Smith said.

“As Professor Ross Garnaut suggested, we will focus on helping home-owners and the business sector to cope with rising power prices.”

The former Brumby government introduced legislation to cut emissions 20 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020 after the failure of the Rudd government’s carbon trading scheme to pass federal parliament.

In opposition, the state Coalition supported the 20 per cent target but have distanced themselves from the proposal during the past 12 months.

The Standard yesterday contacted a number of renewable energy companies with projects based in the south-west.

Some were unavailable and others declined to comment.

Opposition energy spokeswoman Lily D’Ambrosio said economic benefits extended to south-west Victoria through renewable energy projects would be jeopardised by the state government’s change of heart.

“With the stroke of a pen, Premier Ted Baillieu has sent renewable energy investors a clear message — Victoria is closed for business,” she said.

“The decision … sends a clear message to the south-west community that the government has no interest in the renewable energy sector and the benefits it has brought to the region.”

Australian Industry Group Victorian director Tim Piper said it was important for business to have consistency across the country.

Environment Victoria chief Kelly O’Shannassy said the target had been about cutting pollution from the economy and attracting clean energy investment.

Mr Garnaut said he saw no need for separate state emissions targets if there is an appropriate national strategy.

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