Federal Election 2022: Policy Asks - Solar Citizens

Federal Election 2022 Policy Asks

Across our sunburnt country, a growing number of solar and wind farms are pumping out clean and affordable energy. Australia’s three million solar homes and businesses now make up the country’s largest power station, and now more Australians than ever are looking to make the switch to cleaner electric transport, too. 

At the same time, Australia is well-placed to capitalise on emerging opportunities to export renewable hydrogen and ‘green’ commodities, such as steel and aluminium, as the world moves towards a low-carbon future, far from being a choice between credible climate action and thriving regional employment, Australia can have the best of both worlds by utilising cheap solar and wind energy to expand onshore manufacturing and minerals processing. 

The next Federal Government must urgently act to capitalise on these opportunities to accelerate the transition to cheap renewable energy, new clean industries, and affordable electric transport. 

While Solar Citizens is a national organisation, Townsville has been a priority location for our work for a number of years, which has included highlighting and advocating for the economic benefits that North Queensland’s abundant renewable energy resources can unlock in the region. This focus on North Queensland is reflected in the below policy recommendations. 

In the lead up to the 2022 federal election, Solar Citizens is calling on all political parties to commit to the following:

  1. Develop a plan for urgently transitioning our energy system to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

  2. Provide significant funding to enable the timely build out of transmission infrastructure and Renewable Energy Zones so that new renewable energy projects can connect and send electricity to the grid.

  3. Expand onshore manufacturing of low-carbon products by funding the development of seven Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts. A Renewable Energy Industrial Precinct is made up of a cluster of manufacturers powered by 100% renewable energy, which includes access to clean heat and renewable hydrogen production and infrastructure.

  4. Invest in kick-starting a thriving renewable hydrogen export industry and develop regional hydrogen hubs.

  5. Invest in North Queensland’s renewable manufacturing potential by:
    • Investing a further $22 million to develop the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct.
    • Allocating at least $70 million to establish Townsville as a renewable hydrogen hub.
    • Supporting the CopperString 2.0 transmission line via the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).

  6. Invest in household and community battery storage to help all people access and maximise the benefits of Australia’s abundant solar energy. 
  7. Develop a program to support low-income households, including renters and apartment-dwellers, to access the benefits of rooftop solar, including upfront rebates, no or low-interest loans, and incentives for landlords.
  8. Provide financial incentives at a federal level of at least $5,000 for the purchase of new and second hand electric vehicles to drive consumer uptake.
  9. Introduce mandatory fuel efficiency (CO2 emission) standards, in line with European standards for light vehicles.