Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with members of Clean Energy for Eternity, and Member for Eden Monaro Mike Kelly at Tathra today.
The Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has been in Tathra today to make an election pledge of $10 million dollars regarding the establishment of a Community Power Hub for the Far South Coast.
Mr Shorten said the plan would help people, groups and organisations, such as the Tathra Sea Eagles, which has recently installed solar panels on its clubhouse bring down the the cost of power bills.
The Far South Coast is the first location to be announced for the Community Power Hub as part of Labor’s $100 million Neighbourhood Renewables Program.
The program also aims to help renters, lower income earners and social housing residents benefit from renewable energy, by supporting local community renewables projects such as solar gardens on rooftops, community wind farms, energy efficiency upgrades for social housing, and grants for community groups to pilot new projects.
Labor will work with local communities, local councils and renewable energy groups to determine the best location for the Hub, but the benefits of the Hub will be felt across the Far South Coast.
Mr Shorten said Australia was in an energy crisis under the Liberals. He said electricity prices had increased by nearly 19 per cent over the past three years – three times faster than wages growth.
"The Liberals haven’t been able to agree on a policy amongst themselves, and aren’t up to leading the country in the right direction," he said.
"Australians love renewable energy because they know it saves them money and it’s good for the environment. Household solar installation has sky-rocketed from 7,000 homes in 2007 to around 2 million homes today.
"Labor wants to make sure that Australia embraces this future, and maximises the jobs, industry and environmental benefits of renewable energy – and most importantly Labor wants to make sure all Australians can share in these benefits, regardless of where you live.
"That’s why the Far South Coast Community Power Hub is so important. It will support the development, coordination and financing of local projects to increase the uptake of renewables, including through solar pv and batteries."
Mr Shorten paid homage to the resilience of the Tathra and district community, which is recovering from a devestating bushfire nearly a year ago, and said Tathra was already ahead of the game when it came to renewable energy - being the birthplace of the Clean Energy for Eternity group which has focused on encouraging individuals to invest in renewable energy sources and engaged in fundraising activities to put solar panels on community infrastructure.
"Along with other community groups like Repower Shoalhaven, Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance, they just need a government in Canberra willing to back them in and support these impressive projects. The Hub will bring legal and technical expertise to the passion of community ideas," Mr Shorten said.
"The local renewables hub will be good for local households, good for the local economy and good for the environment."
Only Labor will deliver cheaper power bills, more renewables and more jobs for Australians.
The communities of the Far South Coast region can rest assured Labor will support their desire for community based clean energy with the Far South Coast Community Power Hub.