Nationals Leader and Shadow Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Labor’s plan to underwrite a five-fold increase in new government-backed renewables across Australia will have profoundly damaging consequences on regional Australia and continue to drive up the cost of living for everyone.
Mr Littleproud said Energy Minister Chris Bowen’s panicked market intervention to achieve Labor’s target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030, by expanding the Capacity Investment Scheme, would come at great cost to taxpayers and destroy agricultural land that will drive up food prices and tear down our food security.
“Labor has to rip up farming land to achieve their irresponsible target but when supply goes down, prices go up. Hurting our food production capability by removing agricultural land means families will pay even more for their food.
“Labor must tell taxpayers, communities and struggling families, how many hectares of productive agricultural land and native vegetation – the very thing renewables were apparently meant to protect – will be impacted by its reckless race?
“Questions have to be asked; where are the Greens on protecting the environment on this and the Australian Conservation Foundation, who have been intimidating farmers that legally manage vegetation on their farms?”
Since Labor was elected, food has increased by 8.2 per cent, gas by 28 per cent, and electricity by 18 per cent.
Mr Littleproud said we have until 2050 to reach our target but Labor wants to do it by 2030, and this is putting pressure on regional Australia.
“I fear federal Labor and the now all Labor states will abandon proper environmental approvals because Chris Bowen doesn’t want to miss their target. Labor must guarantee tough approvals processes and that there won’t be shortcuts for these projects.
“On top of wind turbines and solar panels, 28,000 kilometres of transmission lines at a minimum cost of $80 billion will also tear through regional communities.
“The Nationals believe this demonstrates why we should also have the conversation about nuclear and let the market decide about energy options, rather than taxpayers having to do all the heavy lifting.
“Labor has the wrong priorities for our nation. If you overburden farmers and reduce productive farmland, then you directly increase the price of fresh food at the checkout for families.”
Mr Littleproud is meeting locals in the Central West, concerned about plans to put hundreds of wind turbines through agricultural land in Oberon.
“Mr Bowen’s announcement today will be met with enormous anger in Oberon. A future Coalition government will put an end to Labor’s reckless race to renewables.”