Future Made in Australia Act welcomed by climate orgs

By Katerina Sakkas
Wednesday, 17 April, 2024

Future Made in Australia Act welcomed by climate orgs

Climate organisations have responded enthusiastically to the federal government’s Future Made in Australia Act.

The Act will seek to boost Australia’s economy through investment in onshore industry and manufacturing, with an emphasis on renewable energy production, including hydrogen and solar.

Heidi Lee, CEO of the independent climate think tank Beyond Zero Energy (BZE), said BZE had been calling for government investment in Australian manufacturing capability, having highlighted through its research that Australia possessed natural advantages in terms of existing infrastructure, materials, a skilled mining industry, regional workforce and more.

“It’s fantastic to see Australia step off the sidelines of the global clean energy race and set up our communities to capitalise on our critical minerals by manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines with recyclable blades, batteries, heat pumps and parts for electric vehicles,” Lee said.

“We’re not starting from zero in terms of manufacturing in Australia — our research shows that we already have Australian companies doing bits and pieces, and we can scale this up and coordinate so we’re making the most of our natural advantages.”

Lee said that regional communities stand to benefit from the Act, with the creation of modern infrastructure that will link the nation’s resource-rich areas to clean industry clusters built around established ports and smelters. “This will see jobs and prosperity flow to places that need it most,” she said.

“The energy shift is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build high-paid careers in regional Australia, and this latest announcement puts skilled workers at the centre of our clean energy future.”

BZE is calling for a suite of measures, including investment in national coordination, production credits and equity funding in strategic clean technologies to catalyse onshore manufacturing in the May Federal Budget.

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said the Act could be a game changer that facilitates immediate investment to match the global clean energy shift, supercharges new industries and cements Australia’s advantage in clean energy.

“This is exactly the sort of leadership Australia needs to tackle climate pollution, generate clean jobs and ensure a brighter future for our kids,” McKenzie said. “In the US we’ve seen similar policies dramatically ramp up investment and create tens of thousands of new jobs. As one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world, this is a huge opportunity for Australia.

“Diversifying into sectors like clean manufacturing and critical minerals is essential. Developing these sectors will not only boost our economy but also help us slash climate pollution.

“Globally, the US’s stimulus for clean energy industries is pulling in enormous investment and reshaping energy supply chains,” said Climate Council senior researcher Dr Wesley Morgan. “Making smart investments of our own can attract capital and more bright ideas to Australia as well, putting us at the heart of these new global energy and industry partnerships.

“With the right policy settings, the Future Made in Australia Act can unlock huge economic benefits — in new industries, more jobs and a safer climate future for every community. The federal government is making a smart choice by prioritising clean manufacturing,” Morgan said.

Image credit: iStock.com/Thurtell

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