Barnaby Joyce unveils plans to boost clean energy on farms

Barnaby Joyce coal power
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce

A re-elected Coalition Government will encourage greater use of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) by the agricultural sector, to enhance energy efficiency and farm profitability, according to Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce .

Minister Joyce announced the move this morning as a part of the Coalition’s $240 million plan for a stronger agriculture sector.

“Energy costs have a direct impact on the profitability of agricultural businesses,” he said, adding investment in energy efficiency is better policy than “a devastating tax on production”.

“The CEFC is already able to invest in energy efficient technologies and renewables, however, at June 30, 2015, only 12 per cent of the CEFC’s investment was in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector.

“There are opportunities for agriculture to capture an increased share of the CEFC’s investment to improve the sector’s competiveness and profitability.”

Minister Joyce said eligible businesses may include farms, abattoirs, sugar mills, irrigation infrastructure operators and timber and dairy processors. Examples of suitable energy efficient technologies may include micro hydro power generation, bio-digestion and on-farm renewables.

The Coalition attempted to abolish the CEFC, which was set up under the former Labor government, when it was elected in 2013, but was unable to get legislation through the Senate.