After years of ignoring the economic and environmental benefits of wind farms in his own back yard, Minister for Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor’s appearance at a coal mine in the midst of a bushfire crisis is deeply cynical, the Australian Wind Alliance said today.
Six operating wind farms in Angus Taylor’s electorate of Hume employ around 62 people and another three wind farms currently under construction will create around 420 construction jobs over the next two years.
Existing wind farms pay nearly $400,000 every year into community funds to assist community projects throughout the Southern Tablelands. Around $1.9 million of drought-proof income is paid directly to farmers who host wind turbines. Once wind farms under construction are completed, these numbers will rise to $840,000 and $4.8 million respectively.*
Prior to recent global climate talks, Mr Taylor’s department quietly released modelling that Australia would reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, a target the government had previously described as “reckless”.
“It is deeply ironic that while renewable energy is the only part of the economy delivering sustained emissions reductions, the Minister for Emissions Reduction has chosen to double-down on coal, the primary driver of emissions increases,” said Andrew Bray, National Coordinator of the Australian Wind Alliance.
“At a time when homes and lives have been lost to the devastating climate-fuelled bushfires in his own backyard, this stunt comes across as some kind of sick joke.
“Angus Taylor has six wind farms in his electorate of Hume that employ around 62 people and cut our bushfire-fuelling greenhouse gases. Current wind farm construction will create another 420 jobs over 2 years. Why isn’t he celebrating these instead?
The mine’s owner, Sanjeev Gupta, is presenting a cheque at today’s event for $250,000 to aid bushfire recovery.
“While a $250,000 donation from Mr Gupta is welcome, wind farms already pour $400,000 every year into local community projects every year for 25 years. Why isn’t Mr Taylor also celebrating this important community-building work?
“Three wind farms have opened in Angus Taylor’s backyard since he became a politician and he hasn’t attended one of them.
“Australia needs a real plan to drive renewable energy, bring down emissions and tackle the climate crisis but the Minister is missing in action.