MEDIA RELEASE: Defensive Tehan lashes out over Keppel Prince job cuts
The Australian Wind Alliance today expressed surprise at the extraordinary attack on regional radio today by Dan Tehan (MP Wannon) where he accused the alliance of workers, farmers and community members of “meddling” in his electorate.
“Mr Tehan’s extraordinary attack shows just how desperate Mr Tehan is to deflect blame away from the direct effects of his government’s ideological crusade against clean energy."
“If anyone’s going to be called out for “meddling” in Wannon, it is the Abbott Government who have meddled with the livelihoods of the 100 workers sacked this week in Mr Tehan’s electorate and the thousands more around the country worried about the same fate.
“In recent months, hundreds of Mr Tehan’s constituents have told him face to face that they want his government to protect the Renewable Energy Target.”
“We recognise that Mr Tehan has taken this message to his party room and has stood up for renewable energy jobs, and we applaud him for that.
“Mr Tehan can’t argue that his government didn’t commission a sham review designed to shut down the sector or that the government’s plans won’t cost thousands of wind energy jobs around the country.
“Nor can he argue that his party was given a mandate at the election to cut the amount of new renewable energy in Australia by 60%, but that’s exactly what he’s trying to do."
"Mr Tehan’s party introduced the first renewable energy target in 2001, voted to expand it in 2009 and 2010 and took their policy to the each of the past 5 elections. Nothing but ideology can explain the government’s backflip on clean energy.”
“If the Coalition’s current position on the renewable energy target is legislated, there’s a good chance there’ll never be another wind farm tower produced in Mr Tehan's electorate — once the centre of wind farm manufacturing in Australia.”
On this morning’s radio program, Mr Tehan made comments that some wind farm developers have recently been importing components that were traditionally made locally.
"We fully support Mr Tehan's support for locally manufactured content and we have expressed these views in no uncertain terms with all wind farm developers operating in Victoria.” (see our media release from 3/7/2013 - http://www.vicwind.org.au/victorian_wind_alliance_calls_for_support_of_australian_made_wind_towers)
That said, the Alliance understands that the use of foreign components was only a minor factor in Keppel Prince's decision. "Local manufacturers have 80% of the market for wind towers but as the market dries up, what happens with the other 20% is merely a distraction."
"The last time the Coalition went soft on renewable energy two local manufacturing facilities closed down — one that made blades in Portland, and another than made turbines in Tasmania.
“Our members want to see more, not less local manufacturing. If Mr Tehan also wants to keep wind farm manufacturing jobs in Australia, he needs to stop shooting the messenger and focus his attention on his colleagues in Canberra.”