Energy

Farmers in Australia are calling for green energy areas, while the National Party is pushing for coal and nuclear power

The National Farmers’ Federation has stated that renewable energy regions must be “at the heart of every regionalization agenda.” The NFF calls for clean power to be included in new investment to resolve the $3.8 billion annual infrastructure deficit in regional Australia in a strategy paper published on Tuesday. This paper comes as the Nationals press for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to spend on coal and nuclear energy, all of which support employment in the regions.

Those policies, according to the Guardian Australia, were approved by the Nationals party room amid criticism of the way the backbench, headed by Barnaby Joyce, had introduced them without prior authorization. The Nationals are progressively at odds with the NFF on the climate policy after the NFF pushed for a net-zero emissions goal by the year 2050 and cautioned against a gas-driven economic recovery. Tony Mahar, the NFF’s chief executive, will present the journal at the National Press Club, with Jennifer Westacott of the Business Council of Australia as well as Peter Strong of the Council of Small Business Organizations, in a speech dubbed “Regionalization – the Time is Now.”

The NFF paper claims that “nascent energy sectors, such as renewables as well as hydrogen supply chains, as well as digital infrastructure like data centers, will gain a competitive advantage by being in rural and regional areas.” It advocated for “place-based economic growth” by infrastructure investment, noting that “current infrastructure investments, like inland rail as well as renewable energy zones, should be at the forefront of any regionalization agenda.” The National Futures Forum proposed lowering the discount limit for cost-benefit analysis in order to take advantage of the low-interest rates and finance ventures.

Despite praise for green energy zones, the NFF paper argued that the Australian Energy Market Operator’s integrated systems strategy did not include enough consultation with landowners as well as local governments. It cautioned that choices should not be taken “with urban customers and the energy sector in mind, while the impacts (both pro and con) and threats to rural communities as well as industries are only addressed during the implementation process, where the majority of the plan’s decisions have already been made.”

The BCA claimed in a section that if there were opportunities to invest in regional areas after Covid-19 lockdowns, they might become a favored onshoring venue. “This would necessitate tax benefits such as payroll tax discounts, as well as addressing expenditure hurdles such as energy and transportation costs,” the report stated. “Skills packages will also assist anchor regions in developing talent pipelines for evolving local industries,” says the author.

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