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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 August 2015) . . Page.. 2313 ..

Australia has always been strong at harnessing our natural resources, but that no longer means just gas, oil and coal. Australia has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world and it is past time that we took full advantage of them. But our greatest competitive strength should be our capacity to innovate and to lead in research and development. We are an advanced knowledge economy, hungry to experiment, to innovate and to take new products and services to the global market.

Amid this national stagnation, Canberra has been taking the lead. We have committed to a real greenhouse gas abatement target, one that is consistent with the science. We have committed to a real renewable energy target that is achievable and affordable. Canberrans can be proud of the progress we have made and that our ambitious targets for 2020 are now in reach.

Canberra has emerged as an internationally recognised centre for renewable energy innovation and investment. Local renewable energy jobs have increased by 400 per cent over the last five years, at a time when national jobs in the sector have fallen. Over $250 million of benefits are being delivered through the establishment of two new global operations centres here in Canberra. Millions more will flow from new private sector investments in trades training and tertiary education, getting the next generation of energy workers trained and into new jobs. One example, the Power Saving Centre here in Canberra, a local commercial and residential solar installation business, has grown from two to more than 22 employees in the last two years.

The benefits of new opportunity are being spread across our growing economy. It is feeding into tourism, hospitality and office services. The local investment benefits are many. Neoen, from France, have established their Asia-Pacific wind energy headquarters in Canberra and it will service their investments across the Asia-Pacific region. RES, from the UK, have partnered with local company Windlab to provide asset management services for wind farms, resulting in the establishment of Windlab’s new global operations hub.

Our ongoing investment in renewable energy is also driving significant innovation, providing a platform for new ACT businesses and building links between the ACT’s world-class education institutions and the energy industry. Renewable energy businesses have committed to, for example, developing a new ANU wind power masters course, and running a lecture program visiting every high school in the ACT to introduce renewable energy and its career opportunities.

These businesses will also establish a new CIT renewable energy skills centre of excellence, with nearly $6 million of funding committed over the next 20 years. Canberra institutions such as the ANU’s Energy Change Institute are leaders in their fields. We can leverage our local know-how and build a more diverse, export-oriented economy.

In order to help these businesses grow and to attract new business to the region, the ACT government has put in place a renewable energy industry development strategy. This strategy is focusing on solar, wind and energy storage, and combined with a

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