The Albanese government is being pushed to provide an extra $100bn over 10 years to boost jobs and reduce emissions including through investments in clean industries and manufacturing of renewable energy components.
At the Australian Renewables Industry summit in Canberra on Monday unions, the renewable energy sector, community and investor groups will call for the package to respond to massive investment overseas including the US’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Labor faced a similar push before its national conference in August, resulting in a substantial increase in ambition in the party’s platform. It now recognises the energy transition is the “most significant economic opportunity since the Industrial Revolution” and commits to “substantial public investment in or underwriting of” critical assets.
The latest push is endorsed by groups including the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Energy Finance, Rewiring Australia and the Smart Energy Council.
The group wants a minimum of $100bn over 10 years for: critical minerals; green iron, steel, and aluminium; advanced manufacturing including solar and wind components and batteries; heat pumps and home energy management; transmission; clean energy exports; zero carbon transport vehicles and fuels; and recycling.
The proposal does not specify the form of investment, which could include a mix of tax credits for advanced manufacturing, off-budget funds such as the National Reconstruction Fund, or direct government spending.
The assistant minister for manufacturing, Tim Ayres, will address the summit. Stakeholders are lobbying the climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, ahead of decisions on further clean energy investments to be included in the mid-year economic and fiscal update.
The Smart Energy Council chief executive, John Grimes, said Australia was “standing at a crucial juncture in our nation’s history”.
“Our world-leading resources and renewable energy potential provide the opportunity for Australia to become a driving force in the global green economy while driving down emissions in line with the science to maintain a safe climate.
“But without significantly greater investment, we simply won’t be able to build the industries of the future, reduce emissions, create jobs or strengthen national prosperity and social equity.”
The ACTU president, Michele O’Neil, said “the US, Canada, European Union, India, Korea and Japan are already committing hundreds of billions of dollars towards clean industrial support packages”.
“Australia needs to do the same to fulfil our enormous clean energy potential and create hundreds of thousands of well-paid, safe and secure jobs.
“Both the urgency of the climate crisis and the enormity of the clean energy opportunity for workers and communities call for a bold, ambitious, and timely response from government.”
Climate Energy Finance’s founder, Tim Buckley, said, “we need a far more integrated and ‘big picture’ approach to encourage greater investment, commensurate with the scale of this massive renewables and critical minerals and metals embodied decarbonisation export opportunity for Australia”.
In May, Bowen announced $2bn for a “hydrogen headstart” program. The Albanese government has set up a $20bn rewiring the nation fund for transmission and the $15bn national reconstruction fund but faces questions over whether it will need to scale it up given the Inflation Reduction Act’s US$369bn investment in energy security.
In August the industry minister, Ed Husic, said the government wanted to signal that decarbonisation is “really important to Australia”.
“The challenge of the IRA is that you don’t lose your capacity – that is, that firms don’t get lured offshore to do work in the US,” he told Guardian Australia.
The opposition under Peter Dutton has called for consideration of nuclear energy to help reach net zero, an uncosted idea yet to become official Coalition policy.
Tense diplomatic relations may not impact trade, investment ties between India, Canada: Experts
NEW DELHI: The tense diplomatic relations between India and Canada are unlikely to impact trade and investments between the two countries as economic ties are driven by commercial considerations, according to experts. Both India and Canada trade in complementary products and do not compete on similar products.
“Hence, the trade relationship will continue to grow and not be affected by day-to-day events,” Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) Co-Founder Ajay Srivastava said.
Certain political developments have led to a pause in negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries.
On September 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau India’s strong concerns about the continuing anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada that were promoting secessionism, inciting violence against its diplomats and threatening the Indian community there.
India on Tuesday announced the expulsion of a Canadian diplomat hours after Canada asked an Indian official to leave that country, citing a “potential” Indian link to the killing of a Khalistani separatist leader in June.
Srivastava said these recent events are unlikely to affect the deep-rooted people-to-people connections, trade, and economic ties between the two nations.
Bilateral trade between India and Canada has grown significantly in recent years, reaching USD 8.16 billion in 2022-23.
India’s exports (USD 4.1 billion) to Canada include pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles, and machinery, while Canada’s exports to India (USD 4.06 billion) include pulses, timber, pulp and paper, and mining products.
On investments, he said that Canadian pension funds will continue investing in India on grounds of India’s large market and good return on money invested.
Canadian pension funds, by the end of 2022, had invested over USD 45 billion in India, making it the fourth-largest recipient of Canadian FDI in the world.
The top sectors for Canadian pension fund investment in India include infrastructure, renewable energy, technology, and financial services.
Mumbai-based exporter and Chairman of Technocraft Industries Sharad Kumar Saraf said the present frosty relations between India and Canada are certainly a cause for concern.
“However, the bilateral trade is entirely driven by commercial considerations. Political turmoil is of a temporary nature and should not be a reason to affect trade relations,” Saraf said.
He added that even with China, India has acrimonious relations but bilateral trade continues to remain healthy.
“In fact, bilateral trade is an effective tool to improve political relations. India must make special efforts to increase our bilateral trade with Canada,” Saraf said.
India and Canada have a strong education partnership. There are over 200 educational partnerships between Indian and Canadian institutions.
In addition, over 3,19,000 Indian students are enrolled in Canadian institutions, making them the largest international student cohort in Canada, according to GTRI.
According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), Indian students contributed USD 4.9 billion to the Canadian economy in 2021.
Indian students are the largest international student group in Canada, accounting for 20 per cent of all international students in 2021.
Benefits of educational partnerships are mutual and hence the current situation may have no impact on the relationship, Srivastava said.
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double India jobs and investment
Apple supplier Foxconn aims to double its workforce and investment in India by next year, a company executive said on Sunday.
Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics, has rapidly expanded its presence in India by investing in manufacturing facilities in the south of the country as the company seeks to move away from China.
V Lee, Foxconn’s representative in India, in a LinkedIn post to mark Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 73rd birthday, said the company was “aiming for another doubling of employment, FDI (foreign direct investment), and business size in India” by this time next year.
He did not give more details.
Foxconn already has an iPhone factory employing 40,000 people in the state of Tamil Nadu.
In August, the state of Karnataka said the firm will invest US$600 million for two projects to make casing components for iPhones and chip-making equipment.
The company’s Chairman Liu Young-way said in an earnings briefing last month that he sees a lot of potential in India, adding: “several billion dollars in investment is only a beginning”.
Taiwan election: Foxconn’s Terry Gou taps star-powered running mate
Last month, Foxconn’s billionaire founder Terry Gou said he would run for the Taiwanese presidency in next year’s election, as an independent candidate.
He said the ruling and independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was unable to offer a bright future for the island and left Foxconn’s board following his decision to run.
The firm operates the world’s largest iPhone plant, in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province.
Foxconn to double workforce, investment in India by ‘this time next year’
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