“Reckless Renewables” Rally in Canberra as parliament begins

Anti-renewable energy activists are calling for a suspension of projects and an inquiry into whether the rollout is in the national interest.

Craig Kelly
Former Liberal MP and United Australia Party President, Craig Kellly (right) on his way to Reckless Reneweables Rally. IMAGE: Craig Kelly/X

Anti-renewable energy activists are calling for a suspension of projects and an inquiry into whether the rollout is in the national interest.

A “rally against reckless renewables” in front of Parliament House on Tuesday will mark the first day of the 2024 federal parliamentary year.

Event coordinator Sandra Bourke from Hawks Nest in NSW told AAP she wants to stop “generations of damage” to agricultural land from the construction of wind and solar farms.

The main demand is an inquiry into the rollout of renewable energy and high-voltage transmission lines, she said.

Nor should offshore wind farms be a foregone conclusion in waters off the Hunter and Illawarra regions in NSW, Ms Bourke said.

A Senate inquiry should examine the technical feasibility of all options and serve as a check on uncapped spending, she said.

The groups involved in the protest say they are concerned about compulsory land acquisition and land clearance for transmission lines.

There should also be an end to the “archaic” ban on nuclear energy so it can be part of Australia’s future energy mix, they say.

Coalition politicians set to speak at the demonstration include Barnaby Joyce, Keith Pitt, Matt Canavan, Jacinta Price, David Gillespie, nuclear energy fan Gerrard Rennick, Michelle Landry, Llew O’Brien, Ross Cadell and Colin Boyce.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation will be represented by Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts and NSW upper house MP Tania Mihailuk.

National director of the United Australia Party and self-declared climate sceptic Craig Kelly is also in the line-up, along with Victorian UAP Senator Ralph Babet.

Others say a failure to rapidly build sufficient renewable energy will leave Australia dependent on more expensive and less reliable gas and coal-fired electricity.

A spokesman for Energy and Climate Minister Chris Bowen said the federal government was working with regional communities and local landholders to ensure they benefit from cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy.

He said everyone has a right to protest but rejected the opposition’s attempt to “whip up a scare campaign” on the energy transition.

“It’s the regions that have always powered Australia that have the most to gain from this transformation and our government is helping them seize the opportunity,” he said.

Ms Bourke said she was not a climate sceptic and was not backed by a political party or bankrolled by any oil or gas lobby groups.

“Yes, we need to phase out (fossil fuels) but we can do better than this,” she said.

A flag-waving “freedom convoy” descended on parliament two years ago, driven by angst about pandemic controls and headlined by “cookers” who followed various conspiracy theories including some with white separatist views.

Ms Bourke said Tuesday’s rally had attracted diverse groups of people, from so-called “cookers” to “extreme greens”.

With Australian Associated Press

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