In Far North Queensland candidates from across the political divides have come together in a show of unity in supporting a scheme that would create more renewable energy jobs and infrastructure around the country.
Candidates from Labor, the Coalition, the Greens, minor parties and independents have signed a pledge to support Solar Our Schools – a scheme to put solar panels and batteries on all schools and early childhood centres.
In the past four weeks, more than 130 candidates from across the political spectrum have signed the pledge.
“Leichardt is the only electorate where both major parties as well as minor parties have signed the pledge – proving Far North Queensland’s candidates are leading the country”, said Nic Seton, CEO of Australian Parents for Climate Action.
“We are grateful to Liberal Nationals’ Honourable Warren Entsch MP and Labor’s Elida Faith for their leadership. Parents around Australia want politicians from all sides to end the climate wars and embrace the opportunities clean energy can offer to our communities, both through jobs and benefits to cost of living.”
Figures from Beyond Zero Emissions’ Million Jobs Plan shows large schools can save $114,000 in annual energy bills and small schools can save $12,700 a year. These savings will only increase as energy prices continue to rise, as the Australian Energy Market Operator is indicating.
“Energy bills are rising, and this is going to eat into the education budget. Solar and batteries in schools will save schools money in power bills to put towards more teachers and educational resources,” Mr Seton said.
“The Greens recently announced a national Solar For Schools package, which exceeded our ask. Now we need the ALP and Coalition to make their own Solar Our Schools policy announcements.”
“This federal election is a tight race and we know that climate is a deciding factor for voters in marginal electorates. Voters want more climate action and they want to see Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese commit to that this week with sensible shovel-ready climate policies like solar and batteries on schools and early childhood centres.”
“The state governments are ahead in this area, but the state and territory governments alone cannot fund solar and batteries in all schools. It needs federal government investment now, so communities don’t miss out on the clean, free energy solar on schools can provide.”
Solar Our Schools will create 7000 jobs across Australia in renewable energy, and the energy savings from schools could employ 4000 more teachers, addressing our national teacher shortage.