23 June 2021


The Senate has voted for Labor’s motion to disallow the Government’s cynical attempt to push the Australian Renewable Energy Agency into a slush-fund for whatever Angus Taylor wants it to fund. 
Labor created ARENA in 2012 and has defended it against constant Government attempts to abolish and undermine the independent Agency.
In his latest attack, the embattled Energy Minister tried to circumvent the Parliament by making regulations to drastically expand ARENA’s remit to include non-renewable technologies that the Government decides are ‘low emissions’. 
The idea of giving Angus Taylor a blank cheque to decide what is and isn’t ‘low emissions’ technology is a joke.

Labor supports new energy technologies that stack up scientifically and commercially. But deserving non-renewable technologies should be supported in other ways and not allowed to dilute ARENA’s funding and expertise.
ARENA has delivered $7 billion of value to the Australian economy because of commitment to its mandate.

The object of the ARENA Act 2011 is to ‘improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia’.

The Minister’s Explanatory Statement on the disallowed regulations even admitted that ‘ARENA’s legislated functions are currently limited to supporting renewable energy technologies’.

It’s not a narrow remit – there’s been hundreds of millions of dollars in grid integration investment, biogas, storage technologies and hydrogen in addition to solar and wind – all across Australia’s regions.

Changing those functions would require legislation – not a cynical attempt to circumvent the Parliament via regulations following the failure of similar legislation on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation amid internal Coalition divisions.

The Nationals blew up the Government’s attempt to change the CEFC – so although the Government had legislation drafted for ARENA – they arrogantly attempted to avoid the Parliament because of energy chaos in their partyroom. 

Legal experts and the Senate, including the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation Committee, raised serious concerns about the legality of these regulations.  

Labor therefore welcomes the success of the disallowance – protecting against the latest ARENA attacks – and ensuring the Government doesn’t unlawfully circumvent the Parliament and the Australian people.