Monday, 22 February 2021. South West Slopes farmer Peter Holding joined a farmer delegation at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to call on the government to use clean, renewable energy to revitalise regional Australia.
The visit coincides with the introduction of the Australian Local Power Agency Bill into Parliament.
Peter, who runs a sheep and cropping farm at Harden and is Farmers for Climate Action’s farmer outreach officer, said: “I’m here today because I think it’s essential that regional communities are allowed to engage in renewable energy developments around the country.
“If local communities are not supported to do this work, the monopolies that run the industry will retain the power. Those that are least able to are going to end up paying the cost.”
Peter said that his local area stood to benefit from local energy development that would bring prices down. “Our nursing home at Harden has just closed down. That’s a massive blow to jobs in our region.
“Community energy initiatives in our region offer the possibility of job and wealth creation, at a time when we really need it. Lower cost energy would benefit our local industries which are energy intensive, such as the lime mine and the duck farm, and it could also lead to a return of facilities which have left the region, such as fruit packing and cool stores.”
Also at Parliament House, Farmers for Climate Action chair Charlie Prell, a NSW sheep farmer who hosts wind turbines on his property, said: “The renewable energy transformation currently underway is a once-in-a-century opportunity to revitalise regional Australia. We must have a plan that ensures the roll-out creates local jobs, increases the autonomy of the regions, lowers electricity costs and leads to the creation of a new and lucrative export industry.
“The Local Power Plan outlines a clear strategy for doing this. It ensures that regional communities will have buy-in, some control, and a reasonable level of ownership of the new generation infrastructure.”
Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of more than 5000 farmers and agricultural leaders working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are part of its solution.