Labor restores ARENA’s renewables focus

Wind farm at sunset (world-first system)
Image: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

The Labor government will scrap changes to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) introduced by the Morrison government that would have allowed it to fund some fossil fuel projects.

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen released new regulations he said would return ARENA’s focus to funding renewable energy projects and technologies.

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Bowen said it would include a mandate for the agency to work with industry to accelerate electrification and boost energy efficiency.

The news came as negotiations continued between Bowen and crossbenchers over a separate climate change bill that includes Labor’s target of a 43 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

The Greens leader Adam Bandt said he was disappointed Anthony Albanese had reportedly told News Corp that banning new Australian coal and gas mines would lead to an increase in global emissions, not decrease them.

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Bandt said Albanese had used the same “pro-coal talking points” as the LNP and former Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

He said just as Labor would not leave aged care standards or minimum wages to the market, the government should be willing to intervene on fossil fuels, and not leave “the very future of humanity in the hands of coal and gas corporations”.