The Senate tonight voted to give electricity intensive industries a 90% break on the cost of Renewable Energy Certificates when the price tops $40.
Labor opposed an amendment to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2010 to provide the break for electricity intensive industries, like the aluminium industry, but independent Senators supported the Coalition.
Senator Boswell said Labor was prepared to offer the concession only if its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme was in place.
“Since Labor has abandoned the CPRS for years it was pure bloody mindedness to hold the electricity intensive industries hostage to a ghost policy,” Senator Boswell said.
“It was just a gratuitous slap in the face to some of Australia’s most important exporters.”
The Government’s renewable energy legislation requires the big wholesale buyers of electricity to source 20% of their energy consumption by 2020 from renewable sources.
They sought a concession on the cost of buying Renewable Energy Certificates to meet the target because electricity is a huge part of their operating expenditure, but the Government insisted on holding them hostage to their moribund CPRS.
Senator Boswell said the concession won tonight was a major victory for the workers of Gladstone, whose economy is strongly linked to the fate of the aluminium industry.
He appealed to Labor in the House of Representative, and especially the Member for Flynn in Queensland, Chris Trevor, to support the Bill as amended in the Senate by the Coalition.