One of the main problems for Labor coming into Australia’s election period was that it had little support away from the ground, but now that it is receiving backing for some of its major policies, it may have what it takes to get sufficient industry agreement.
With incumbent Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party yet to fully detail their energy policy, the opposition has wasted little time in outlining how it intends to make clean energy one of the key markers of its manifesto.
Part of its plan is to phase out dirtier fuels such as coal, which many people think is one of the worst fossil fuels available. However, coal makes up a significant proportion of Australia’s energy mix, and getting rid of it without having a plan for which fuel will replace it would cause uproar, displacing several thousand jobs and creating a blackspot for the national grid to try and fix.
Labor’s hydrogen plan represents a potential tipping point for Australia. Both parties have acknowledged the need to deal with climate change and look at how the energy plan meets the needs of the country, but it is quite difficult to secure bipartisan support on the issue.
Due to problems stemming from trying to pass bills across parliament, several leaders came and went as they failed to implement an energy manifesto fit for the future of Australia.
When Labor has proposed ideas in recent months, it has often resulted in immediate outcries on the other side of the political sphere, which claims that Labor is not on the side of businesses and uses this as a stick to beat the party with. However, this time around, its policies are actually gaining traction and support from key players.
KPMG backed Labor’s negative gearing plan, which Morrison originally shot down. As time goes on and the elections grow closer, it seems as if the consensus in Australia may be leaning toward Labor.
The party’s recent hydrogen proposal has received a thumbs-up from the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), whose backing is sure to relieve Labor supporters and worry the incumbent Liberals.
MCA said that Labor’s plan will be positive news for the country if it goes ahead. The mining body noted: ‘Converting Australian coal into hydrogen offers one of the best ways to provide a steady and reliable energy source that is not dependent on the weather.’ While solar and wind are renewable outlets that can become a vital part of Australia’s energy mix, they have variable results and cannot offer 100% effectiveness at this point in time.
Tania Constable, the CEO of MCA, welcomed a ‘zero-emission hydrogen solution’ that could occur ‘with advanced carbon capture and return technologies.’ She also hailed ‘the potential to make Victoria and Australia a leading global producer of hydrogen.’
Labor’s proposal should also benefit the LNG industry, which has grown in the last few decades. Its infrastructure could be ideally suited to facilitating the transfer of hydrogen.