Frustrated by Rudd’s ETS Backflip, Thousands Call for Massive Federal Budget Investment in Renewable Energy

MELBOURNE - Frustrated by the Rudd Government’s inaction on climate change, a broad coalition of prominent Australians and organisations representing hundreds of thousands of people have signed an open letter (see below) calling for the government to massively increase renewable energy investment in tomorrow’s federal budget.

Notable signatories include:

  • Progressive online campaign organisation Get Up!, boasting over 350,000 supporters
  • Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
  • Leading climate scientist Professor David Karoly
  • Guy Pearse, Research Fellow at the Global Change Institute and author of High and Dry
  • Major national environmental organisations Friends of the Earth, Environment Victoria and Greenpeace Australia
  • The Australian Youth Climate Coalition, with a membership of over 50,000
  • Renewable energy advocate the Alternative Technology Association
  • Renewable energy industry group the Australian Solar Energy Society
  • The independent think tank The Australia Institute
  • The Electrical Trades Union Victoria
  • Over 30 community-based climate groups from around Australia.

“The time has come for the Rudd government to take an ambitious nation-building approach to climate policy. Labor should commit to a renewable energy project with the scale and vision of a Snowy Mountains Scheme for the 21st Century,” says Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director Matthew Wright. 

“There is a critical need for public investment in large-scale renewable energy projects and climate-friendly infrastructure. These projects are the best way to reduce Australia’s emissions and protect the nation from dangerous climate change,” says Matthew Wright.

“Most Australians would be shocked that the Rudd government is investing up to 28 times more money in the broadband rollout than in renewable energy and climate-friendly infrastructure*. With a funding differential like this, it’s reasonable to presume that our Prime Minister considers slow internet a greater moral challenge than climate change.”

Wright says, “Public investment in sustainable infrastructure should match the investment in the National Broadband Network at a bare minimum.” 

* Between $22-43 billion in the National Broadband Rollout compared to $1.5 billion for the Solar Flagships program announced in the 2009-10 budget.


Letter to the Honourable Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the Honourable Treasurer Wayne Swan, and Members of the Government

The Critical Need for Renewable Energy Investment in the 2010/11 Budget

May 10, 2010

Dear Prime Minister Rudd, Treasurer Swan, and Members of the Government,

We express our profound concern that your government has still not proposed or implemented any policy to significantly reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when climate change experts agree we must act, it is imperative that your government begins efforts to de-carbonise our national economy.

Australia cannot afford to waste any more time in responding to the climate crisis. This is why we call for the Rudd Government to scale-up investment in renewable energy and climate-friendly infrastructure in this year’s federal budget.

Australia needs a nation-building project for climate change with the scale and vision of a Snowy Mountains Scheme for the 21st Century. Such an initiative will drive our transition away from fossil fuels towards a clean, renewable energy economy. This approach will spur economic development and create good Australian jobs. It will put Australia on track to achieve the emissions reductions needed to protect the nation from dangerous climate change.

We call for a fiscal commitment to a nation-building project that at least matches the $22 to $42 billion your government will invest in the rollout of a national broadband network.

An investment package for this infrastructure will demonstrate your government’s commitment to addressing the challenge of climate change, recognised widely and by your own government as “the greatest moral, economic and environmental challenge of our generation.”


Alternative Technology Association

Ararat Greenhouse Action Group Inc.

The Australia Institute

Australian Solar Energy Society

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Bayside Climate Change Action Group

Beyond Zero Emissions Inc.

Climate Action Canberra

Climate Action Calendar

Climate Action Newtown

Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle

Climate Emergency Network

C4 (Communities Combating Climate Crisis)

Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association Inc

Darebin Climate Action Now

Electrical Trades Union Victorian Branch

Emerald for Sustainability

Environment Victoria

Friends of the Earth Australia


Greenfaith Australia

Greenleap Strategic Institute

Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Healesville Environment Watch Inc.

Jewish Ecological Coalition

Kingston Conservation and Environment coalition

Locals Into Victoria's Environment

Mount Alexander Sustainability Group

National Toxics Network

Parramatta Climate Action Network

Postgraduate Environment Network (PEN)

Renewable is Do-able (Save Solar Systems Campaign)

Surf Coast Energy Group

Sustainability in Stonnington

Sutherland Climate Action Network

Sydney University Climate Action Collective

Transition Kurilpa, Brisbane

Victorian Climate Action Centre

Victorian Climate Action Calendar

Western Region Environment Centre

Yarra Climate Action Now

100% Renewables

3CR Community Radio



Dr. Geoff Davies, Senior Fellow in Geophysics at the Australian National University

Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics

Dr Nina Hall, Director Climate Action Network Australia

Mick Harris, Managing Director EnviroGroup

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute, the University of Queensland

Professor David Karoly, climate scientist, University of Melbourne

Tony Kevin, former senior Australian diplomat and author of Crunch Time

Guy Pearse, Research Fellow at the Global Change Institute and author of High and Dry