Browsing articles in "Media Releases"
Dec 18, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

CLEAN ENERGY COUNCIL BACKS LABOR ON RENEWABLE ENERGY

 

Labor welcomes the Clean Energy Council’s endorsement of Labor’s position on the Renewable Energy Target, which will secure certainty for the sector and protect thousands of jobs.

 

Labor’s position, now supported by the CEC, is that there is a pathway that secures a growing renewable energy sector and supports jobs in the aluminium and other emissions intensive, trade exposed sectors.  Labor will do everything possible to protect jobs today and secure new jobs for the future.

 

Labor believes there is a way forward within our stated parameters:

  1. No changes to the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme;
  2. Consider providing full exemption to EITE sectors from the LRET;
  3. Minimal changes to the LRET in the interest of restoring bipartisanship;
  4. Any changes must ensure sustainable investment; and
  5. Any agreement must be endorsed by both leaders of both major parties in the interest of ensuring long term certainty for the renewable energy industry.

 

Before the election, Tony Abbott promised not to touch the Renewable Energy Target. After the election, he destroyed bipartisan support for the RET.

 

Investor confidence has been smashed by Tony Abbott’s decision to walk away from his previous support for renewable energy – investment in renewables has plummeted by 70 per cent since he became Prime Minister.

 

Labor has always been prepared to work with the Government to return certainty to the sector and protect jobs.

 

However, like the Clean Energy Council, Labor completely rejects the Abbott Government’s position of a 40 per cent cut to the RET, which would decimate jobs and put our secure economic future at risk.

 

Greg Hunt’s statement that negotiations on the RET will involve “no preconditions”, and Julie Bishop’s support for the existing scheme in Lima last week, demonstrates a considerable back down from the Government’s previous stated position of a 40 per cent cut.

 

The Clean Energy Council’s position on the RET shows the Abbott Government is all alone with its ideological and backward views on renewable energy.

 

Labor remains committed to a strong and sustainable renewable energy sector, and we remain open to further discussions with the Government.

 

But we will not be party to any policy that cripples the renewable energy industry. The onus is on the Government to show its willing to support this industry and the 24,000 people it employs.

 

The ball is in Tony Abbott’s court. He can take this seriously, or he can keep putting billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector at risk.

 

THURSDAY, 18 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:       LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

SAMANTHA REGIONE (BUTLER) 0412 642 38

Dec 17, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

CHRISTMAS TIME TO RECOMMIT TO TACKLING HOMELESSNESS

 

This Christmas thousands of Australians will generously volunteer to help those less fortunate at what can be a very difficult time of year for many in our community.

 

Labor thanks every volunteer and every charitable organisation for the invaluable work they do every day, but especially over this Christmas period.

 

For many Australians this will be a tough time when they will rely on donations of money, food, shelter and gifts for their kids from others.

 

The Salvation Army works incredibly hard to support some of Australia’s most vulnerable people and they have a long established track record looking after people during difficult times.

 

While parcels, breakfasts and emotional support provide a welcome respite, we are reminded that not everyone has reason to celebrate this Christmas.

 

The Government must do more to support the most vulnerable in our community, including acting on the growing challenge of homelessness.

 

Labor believes in a strong economy that delivers for all Australians and doesn’t leave people behind.

 

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, are on public housing waiting lists or trying desperately to purchase their own home.

 

Yet the Abbott Government is leaving them all in a state of perpetual uncertainty.

 

The work of organisations like the Salvation Army highlights the disadvantage many in our community face in keeping a roof over their heads.

 

The housing and homelessness policy review promised by Minister Kevin Andrews since November 2013 has not been delivered.

 

And there is real and genuine fear the Abbott Government does not see a role for the Commonwealth in housing and homelessness policy going forward.

 

The Abbott Government has:

 

  • Cut $44 million out of homelessness services in its 2014-15 Budget, with no funding certainty beyond 2015;
  • Abolished the National Rental Affordability Scheme which boosted the supply of affordable housing for Australians and was widely supported by the industry;
  • Scrapped the First Home Owners Saver Accounts which assisted Australians to save for their first homes;
  • Abolished the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness;
  • Abolished the National Housing Council Supply;
  • Given no commitment to ongoing funding of the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness beyond June 2015
  • Removed the COAG Select Council on Housing and Homelessness;
  • Withdrawn the Commonwealth’s role from the community housing sector’s National Regulatory Council;
  • Reduced funding for the National Affordable Housing Agreement, which has impacted further on the provision of homelessness services.

 

Australia cannot afford a government that abandons the most vulnerable in our community, especially at a time when unemployment is at its highest levels in 12 years and youth unemployment its highest level in 13 years.

 

Labor calls on the Abbott Government to recommit to tackling homelessness in Australia, not cut services and support at a time when more and more Australians are relying on it.

 

WEDNESDAY, 17 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053

MELINDA EADES – 0408 743 457 (MCLUCAS)

Dec 16, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

MARTIN PLACE TRAGEDY

The loss of two innocent people in this horrific event overnight breaks our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

 

We also keep in our thoughts the wounded and other hostages, and their families. Their ordeal is not over.

 

We owe our full gratitude to our police and security agencies for their bravery, service and sacrifice. Their skill and professionalism has saved lives.

 

The Opposition continues to offer the Government its full support during this difficult time. The Prime Minister and I are partners when it comes to keeping Australians safe.

 

Today, all of Australia stands with Sydney.

 

TUESday, 16 December 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT  02 6277 4053 

Dec 12, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT’S RET BROKEN PROMISE COSTS MORE JOBS

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT’S RET BROKEN PROMISE COSTS MORE JOBS

 

The Abbott Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) broken promise has cost 150 jobs in North Queensland today as Meridian Energy announced it will not proceed with its Burdekin Hydro Power Generation Project.

 

Meriden Energy has blamed the long-term uncertainty created by Tony Abbott’s broken promise on renewable energy for the company’s decision to cancel the project.

 

Meridian Energy has been in consultation for the Burdekin Hydro Power Generation Project for 18 months and planned to employ 150 locals during development and construction.

 

The 52 MW producing plant would have served around 20,000 regional homes.  Furthermore, it has significant strategic value because it could operate at times of peak demand, thereby offsetting high prices and the need for network expansion in regional Queensland.

 

In its announcement today, Meridian said the Abbott Government’s stance on the RET was “puzzling” given its own Warburton Review found the RET puts downward pressure on household power prices.

 

Australian families will have Tony Abbott to thank when their power bills rise because of his ideologically destructive approach to renewable energy.

 

This is the latest of a series of projects that won’t go ahead, costing local jobs and sending investment offshore since Tony Abbott’s politically motivated RET Review and his subsequent plans to significantly reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

 

Tony Abbott should make good before Christmas and recommit to the renewable energy industry and the 24,000 people it already employs.

 

Labor is prepared to help the Government restore the certainty enjoyed before Tony Abbott decided he didn’t want to support an industry that creates jobs, attracts investment, puts downward pressure on household power prices and reduces carbon pollution.

 

The Government’s proposal to cut the Renewable Energy Target by 40 per cent will destroy this industry. Labor will reopen negotiations if the Government moves away from this position.

 

FRIDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT:          LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

JO MEEHAN 0408 803 428

Dec 11, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

JOHN FAULKNER

Senator John Faulkner has made a remarkable and enduring contribution to the Labor Party and to Australia. Our movement owes him its sincere thanks.

 

John has been a faithful servant of the Senate for 25 years, and of our Party longer still.

 

John was a respected, policy-driven Cabinet Minister in the Keating, Rudd and Gillard Governments.

 

He is an outstanding orator and Parliamentarian.

 

He is a fearless Senate Estimates examiner.

 

A relentless pursuer of reform.

 

A custodian of the Light on the Hill and the best example of the Whitlam tradition.

 

While Ministers and Departmental Secretaries may not miss his formidable, forensic questioning, we will certainly miss his invaluable wisdom and his indomitable spirit.

 

We honour John’s service today, but we don’t say goodbye.

 

I know that John’s contribution to our cause is far from finished. Labor and Australia still need John Faulkner.

 

John’s first campaign was the “It’s time” election of 1972, and his long friendship with Gough Whitlam is well known.

 

When he paid tribute to Gough in the Senate a few months ago, John asked all of us to remember his mentor’s example:

 

“To work out how you think Australia can be made better; and to bend every energy to that end.”

 

Our nation and our movement have been made better because of John Faulkner.

 

THURSDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

 

Dec 10, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT STILL COMMITTED TO A GP TAX

 

Tony Abbott said his GP Tax was dead – but today, the GP Tax lives.

 

He may have changed his talking points, but he hasn’t changed his tax.

 

Tony Abbott is doing exactly the same thing he did with the Petrol Tax – sneaking it around the Parliament, to push up cost of living pressures.

 

This isn’t a back down – this is a GP Tax through the backdoor. But make no mistake, it’s still a GP Tax and it’s still hitting the sick and families at their most vulnerable.

 

It’s still a tax, it’s still a broken promise and it will only ever rise as long as Tony Abbott is Prime Minister.

 

Tony Abbott’s GP Tax is the thin edge of the wedge when it comes to destroying Medicare and making healthcare unaffordable in this country.

 

Only Labor will protect Medicare.

 

We built it and we won’t let Tony Abbott destroy it.

 

Labor will protect Australian families from this Government’s dishonest attempts to push up basic living expenses for people already under financial pressure.

 

This is a Prime Minister under pressure, and it shows.

 

This is a desperate Prime Minister who will say and do anything to save his own skin.

 

Today was all about looking after Tony Abbott – it had nothing to do with looking after Australians.

 

He isn’t protecting Medicare – he’s just trying to protect himself.

 

 

TUESDAY, 9 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT:          LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

STEPHEN SPENCER 0423 596 573

 

 

 

Dec 8, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

CUT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY TARGET WILL DESTROY SMALL BUSINESSES

 

The Abbott Government’s plans to reduce the Renewable Energy Target by 40 per cent will costs thousands of Australian jobs and see small businesses in the sector close.

 

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Climate Change Minister Mark Butler today visited IXL Solar in Adelaide, a small business that manufactures steel structures for solar panels and employs more than 200 people. These jobs and the future positions IXL planned to create are now in jeopardy as Tony Abbott pursues a significant cut in the Renewable Energy Target and continues to create uncertainty in the sector.

 

In 2012, Geelong-based parent company IXL established IXL Solar in Adelaide in an effort to diversify its business from automotive manufacturing with the support of the Labor Government’s Automotive New Markets Program. The company uses Australian steel to manufacture solar panel frames for NSW’s Solar Flagships Program.

 

“This business is a perfect example of the opportunities presented through the emergence of the renewable energy industry in Australia,” Mr Shorten said.

 

“Presented with a downturn in car manufacturing, IXL was able to capitalise on the growth in solar energy to retrain its workers and save hundreds of jobs.”

 

“All of this is at risk due to Tony Abbott’s ideological attack on renewable energy.”

 

During Labor’s time in government, jobs in the renewable energy sector tripled and Australia was ranked in the top most attractive places to invest, alongside the US, China and Germany.

 

The Abbott Government’s RET Review and its subsequent negative rhetoric about renewable energy has seen investment in Australia stalled, cost jobs and created uncertainty for small businesses like IXL.

 

“Renewable energy is an industry of the future. Labor recognised this in 2007 and established the right policy structure to see the industry flourish in Australia,” Mr Butler said.

 

“Now businesses like IXL, which is providing hope for the northern suburbs of Adelaide in the lead up to the departure of the car manufacturing industry, is receiving just as much support from Tony Abbott as Holden did: none.”

 

Labor believes a strong renewable energy sector will keep downward pressure on power prices, support new clean energy jobs through continued investment and contribute to reducing Australia’s carbon emissions.

 

The Abbott Government destroyed bipartisan support for the RET by breaking its election commitment and trying to reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

 

Labor has again reiterated its willingness to explore every opportunity to re-establish bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target.

 

However, Labor will not stand by and watch billions of dollars in investment in the Australian renewable energy sector, along with thousands of jobs, go overseas because of cuts to the target.

 

Tony Abbott has no vision for Australia’s future and his Government fails to understand the economic and environmental benefits of a strong renewable energy industry in Australia.

 

MONDAY, 8 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:        LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

JO MEEHAN (BUTLER) 0408 803 428

Dec 8, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

Stella Young

We were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Stella Young.

 

Last month, The Age published a letter Stella had penned to her 80-year old self.

 

In it, Stella reflected on the epiphany she had at 17:

 

“I was not wrong for the world I live in. The world I live in was not yet right for me.”

That was the spirit that drove Stella, the determination that fuelled her tireless advocacy for the causes she held close to her heart.

 

A feminist, an atheist and an activist with her own one-woman show at the Melbourne Comedy Festival – Stella was afraid of nothing and believed she could do anything.

 

Stella was a qualified teacher but became a national educator about people living with a disability.

 

She was a strong, passionate and wickedly funny voice for hundreds of thousands of Australians with disabilities.

 

As a feisty and fearless panel member on Q&A, a pull-no-punches writer for the ABC online, editor of the Ramp Up website, and the author of a TED talk with more than 1.5 million hits, the sweep of her influence was vast.

 

We had the privilege of working closely with Stella during the creation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

 

We will always be grateful for the contribution that her sharp wit, her limitless self-belief and her boundless optimism made to empowering hundreds of thousands of Australians, freeing them from the exile of a second class life in their own country.

 

On more than one occasion, Stella said ‘I’m not your inspiration thank you very much’.

 

Then – and now – we respectfully disagree.

 

She was an inspiration, for all of us.

 

Our heartfelt condolences to Stella’s family and friends.

 

May she rest in peace.

 

 

MONDAY 8 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT:          LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

CATHERINE CHARLESON 0419 987 947 (MACKLIN)

Dec 7, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

ABBOTT FORCED TO SINK HIS $20 BILLION PPL ‘BARNACLE’

 

ABBOTT FORCED TO SINK HIS $20 BILLION PPL ‘BARNACLE’

 

Reports today indicate Tony Abbott has been forced into a humiliating backdown on his “signature policy” – his unfair and extravagant paid parental leave scheme.

 

There could be no greater sign of just how much trouble Tony Abbott is in with his own colleagues.

 

Tony Abbott has defended his unaffordable and unfair paid parental leave scheme up hill and down dale.

 

He has stubbornly and repeatedly promised to stand by his friendless scheme no matter what.

 

“This wasn’t just a policy that the Coalition took to the 2013 election, it was the policy that we took to the 2010 election. This is a policy to which I am personally very committed.”

 

TONY ABBOTT – PRESS CONFERENCE – 13 MARCH 2014

 

Labor, business and many of his own colleagues have long been calling on Tony Abbott to dump his paid parental leave scheme that would see millionaires paid $50,000 to have a baby.

 

Now, at the end of a year of lies and broken promises, and thanks to Joe Hockey’s Budget mess, Tony Abbott has finally been forced to concede defeat.

 

Tony Abbott must release the detail of his revised paid parental leave scheme immediately. He should have had the guts to put it to the Parliament – not wait until after the Parliament has risen for the year before announcing it.

 

Labor will wait to see the detail – but we know one thing for sure – if Tony Abbott was serious about helping working families’ make ends meet he would reverse his $1 billion cut to child care.

 

Tony Abbott’s signature paid parental leave scheme looks finally set to be consigned to history.

 

He should now scrap those other Budget barnacles – his GP tax, pension cuts and $100,000 degrees.

 

SUNDAY, 7 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT:          LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
CATHERINE CHARLESON (MACKLIN) 0419 987 947

Dec 5, 2014
Kieran Barns-Jenkins

BROKEN PROMISE ON RET IRRESPONSIBLE

Labor believes a strong renewable energy sector will keep downward pressure on power prices, support new clean energy jobs through continued investment and contribute to reducing Australia’s carbon emissions.

 

The Abbott Government destroyed bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target in Australia by breaking its election commitment and trying to reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target.

 

Before the election Tony Abbott promised –

          “We have no plans to change the renewable energy target.”  TONY ABBOTT – 27 SEPTEMBER 2011

 

Labor has again written to the Minister for Industry to reiterate our willingness to explore every opportunity to re-establish bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target.

 

However, Labor will not stand by and watch billions of dollars in investment in the Australian renewable energy sector, along with thousands of jobs, go overseas because of cuts to the target.

 

Tony Abbott has no vision for Australia’s future and his Government fails to understand the economic and environmental benefits of a strong renewable energy industry in Australia.

 

“I drive to Canberra to go to Parliament…and I must say, I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive and I think they are just a blight on the landscape.”  JOE HOCKEY – 2 MAY 2014

 

The Abbott Government’s starting position of a 40 per cent cut to the Renewable Energy Target puts a secure economic future for Australia at risk.

 

Investor confidence in the Renewable Energy Target has been smashed by Tony Abbott’s decision to walk away from his previous support for the policy – new investment in renewables is down 70 per cent since he became Prime Minister.

 

Labor has set out clearly defined negotiating parameters within which we are willing to work with the Government.

 

We believe there is a case for emissions intensive trade exposed sectors, like the aluminium sector, to be exempt from the RET to protect Australian jobs.

 

Labor commenced negotiations with the Government in good faith because we know that industry needs a bipartisan solution.

 

While Labor remains committed to seeking a bipartisan outcome, we will not be party to a plan that kills jobs and investment, increases pollution and forces power prices to rise.

 

Labor remains committed to a strong and sustainable renewable energy sector and remains open to further discussions with the Government.

 

FRIDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2014

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053

 

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