BCCAG writes to Tim Wilson requesting that ARENA funding be continued

Letter from David Rothfield to Tim Wilson (MP)

Sent: Sunday, 29 March 2020 4:27 PM

Subject: Covid 19 and ARENA: both top priorities right now

Dear Tim,

This email is about the current acute health emergency and other comparable challenges we all face.

I know that dealing with the health emergency generated by Covid 19 must take centre stage right now for the government. It has caught us at a bad time, before we have properly dealt with the aftermath of the bushfire emergency and in the midst of new manifestations of the climate emergency.

The canary in the coal mine, so to speak, our remarkable Great Barrier Reef is in the midst of its third mass bleaching event within 5 years. This very likely signals a death spiral for the Reef. Everyone’s attention (except those who live there), is focussed elsewhere, on the pandemic and how to survive it. Which is fine for those who don’t share a sense of responsibility for the emissions that are causing ocean temperatures to rise and the consequent collapse of entire ecosystems.

 I write to you because I think you do care. On many occasions I have heard you talk up the achievements of government climate policy. I have heard you hold up ARENA as one of the success stories of government policy. Indeed it has been. At relatively low cost, ARENA has played a key role in bringing down the cost of renewable energy to the point it can now outcompete investment in new fossil fuel based energy systems.

But other challenges for ARENA remain, such as grid integration, storage and reliability, as well as making green hydrogen competitive.

There is just one problem and that is the reason for this message. ARENA’s funding will run out in 2 years time. In the absence of new funding, it can no longer take on such new projects.

The government has placed new technology and innovation at the centre of its revamped emissions reduction policy.  A government that prides itself on promoting innovation and prides itself on ARENA’s achievements cannot allow ARENA to die.

As our representative in parliament, we appeal to you: insist the government throw a lifeline to ARENA; a grant of just $460 million over the two year period 2022-23 and 2023-24 will do that. The government has just found billions to help businesses survive the pandemic. ARENA will play a critical role in securing Australia’s business capacity to flourish in the renewable energy future. Your intervention in support of ARENA will help ensure it remains a government success story.

Please write to the Treasurer for us. Tell him that many of your constituents, like the majority of Australians, do support new funding for ARENA.

We await your response to this message, which we will circulate to our many members and supporters.

 Kind regards,

 David Rothfield

President

Bayside Climate Crisis Action Group

Mob. 0418 523322

There is no Planet B

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Reply From Tim Wilson (MP) to David Rothfield

Date: 30 March 2020 at 1:12:54 pm

Dear David,

 I will write to the Treasurer on your behalf.

 Ines – please sort.

Tim

Tim Wilson MP

Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein

368 Centre Road

Bentleigh VIC 3204

+61 (0) 3 9557 4644

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Reply to Tim Wilson

Dated 6th April 2020

Dear Tim,

Thank you for responding to our request to write to the Treasurer to pass on our views concerning the value that a lifeline to ARENA will provide to Australia long term.

Many BCCAG members who participated in our on-line meeting last Thursday (and others with whom I have since spoken) said they appreciate this having been done whilst some also expressed the hope that both you and the Treasurer appreciate that the request to you was made on their behalf.

We trust that you share our desire to see the good work of ARENA continue and look forward to receiving the Treasurer’s response.

Kind regards,

David

David Rothfield

President

Bayside Climate Crisis Action Group

Mob. 0418 523322

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