Opinion Piece | Labor Delivers on a Future Made in Australia

09 April 2024


We used to hear from the former Coalition Government that the Liddell Power Station would be kept open.


But of course it was just hot air from the former Government. Liddell’s closure was announced on the Coalition's watch with no plan for the future and no way to make sure hard working people had good jobs to go to.


The Liberals and Nationals spent ten years trying to stall the transformation to a cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy system and undermining new renewable generation and clean energy jobs. When 24 coal-fired power plants announced their closure there was no Coalition consideration of replacement energy or jobs for the communities affected.


The Albanese Government is not afraid of the future. We know it is our job to seize the opportunities and deliver a future in the interest of all Australians.


That’s why last week Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stood in front of the twin stacks at Liddell Power Station to announce the Government’s $1billion Solar Sunshot program.


Solar Sunshot will provide $1 billion to see Australian-made solar panel production, and manufacturing across the solar supply chain – from pit to panel.


The Albanese Government’s commitment is what gives industry confidence to move forward with new solar manufacturing collaborations - like the partnership between AGL (the owner of the Liddell Power Station site) and solar startup SunDrive. This would see Sundrive making their revolutionary, lower cost and more efficient copper based solar cells here in the Hunter.


SunDrive produces some of the most efficient solar PV panels in the world - an Australian invention that will be manufactured right here in the Hunter instead of overseas. AGL and Sundrive’s initiative paves the way for more people employed in advanced solar manufacturing at the Liddell site than worked at Liddell when it was a fully operational coal-fired electricity generator.


The facility will scale up from producing hundreds of thousands of panels each year to millions – and it will help secure the Hunter Valley’s future as the energy capital and industrial heartland of Australia. For generations, the region has generated most of the power for NSW and accounted for a huge portion of Australia’s commodity and manufactured goods exports.

By facing the net zero transformation with a real strategy, we’re making sure this doesn’t change.


Australia has the potential to be a renewable energy super power in a global net zero economy. And we can deliver it if Australians work together. Our workforce is second to none, we have abundant renewable energy and critical mineral deposits, we are reliable exporters of energy to our trading partners, and our researchers and companies have already produced world-leading clean technology breakthroughs.


We are supporting existing big regional manufacturers to shift to low-cost clean energy to secure their future in global export markets; providing the poles and wires infrastructure necessary to bring cheap renewables to industry and households; supporting energy generation and storage; and backing new clean energy manufacturing and mining to make sure Australia’s regions continue to generate wealth and good jobs in the global net zero economy.


We are establishing the Net Zero Economy Authority to coordinate public and private investment in a clean energy future made in Australia’s regions. The Net Zero Economy Authority will promote the orderly and positive economic transformation of Australia as the world cuts greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel dependence.

Our focus in this transformation has always been on Australians themselves; to ensure that no one is left behind and that workers and regions are not only supported through this process but share in the benefits and opportunities of the new net zero economy.


The Albanese Government is determined to fight for this future, by working with industry, investors, unions and regional communities to secure local jobs, invest in new manufacturing and re-engineer our energy system to provide low cost firmed renewable electricity for our industrial future.


A Future Made in Australia isn’t a slogan – it’s what we’re doing now and what we’re focused on delivering for the Hunter and all of regional Australia.


This article was published in the Newcastle Herald online and in print.