Media release

Up to $5bn in private funding at risk due to ARENA cuts

Business and investment in Australia will take a direct hit as a result of the federal government’s decision to cut half a billion dollars from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Future Business Council executive director Tom Quinn said yesterday’s decision to cut $500 million from ARENA’s budget puts up to $5 billion in matched private-sector funding in renewable energy at risk.

“Demand for renewable energy technology is enormous, with $329 billion invested globally in the sector last year. It’s the boom sector of the 21st century, but the local business community is missing out because of ongoing investment uncertainty and continued funding cuts to the sector.

“ARENA is critical in helping launch renewable start-ups, grow viable businesses and attract investment to the sector from here and overseas.

“Australia has an abundance of renewable resources, as well as some of the brightest and most innovative minds. We should be a major exporter of renewable energy technology, but in order to get there we need agencies like ARENA that are willing to back companies of the future from the very start.”

Mr Quinn said continued cuts to renewable energy, and the cloud of uncertainty, had already cost Australia jobs and investment and undermined innovation.

“Actions speak louder than words. This government is failing local entrepreneurs and innovators who need real investment, not empty marketing campaigns, if they are to stay here and thrive.”