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Greens reveal visionary plan for renewable energy farming

Kicking off the final leg of the election campaign, Greens Senate
candidate Sarah Hanson-Young today announced the Greens’
ground-breaking new policy to boost jobs and keep people on the land in
regional Australia, as well as to reduce greenhouse emissions, by
helping farmers become renewable energy generators.

“We can already see the devastating impacts of climate change on
regional Australia as the drought bites and water becomes scarcer. The
Greens want to help regional communities to profit from becoming a key
part of the solution to global warming,” Ms Hanson-Young said.

The Greens’ Farming Renewable Energy initiative will establish
Renewable Energy Development Zones to encourage investment in regional
energy infrastructure and boost jobs in regional Australia.

“Our rural communities here in SA are already copping the brunt of
years of mismanagement of the Murray-Darling system and inaction on
climate change. Neither Liberal nor Labor offer anything more than
band-aid solutions with drought-relief cheques and hand-outs for
leaving the land.

“Neither of the major parties are offering real solutions that will
stop climate change or help regional communities to adapt to this
changing climate. Both parties are abandoning farmers and regional
communities to a hotter and drier future.

“The Greens’ policies will enable farmers to generate income from
their land even in drought and at the same time giving us an
opportunity to develop a strategic plan for our energy future.

“We need to refurbish our grid to make the most of our best
renewable energy resources, and here in South Australia we have the
opportunity to build a strong solar and wind energy industry.”

Farming Renewable Energy sets out a strategic plan to meet the
challenges of adapting to climate change, revitalising regional
Australia and developing a new, renewable energy-focused energy grid.
It encourages and helps farmers to become renewable energy generators,
providing an enabling framework involving three key steps:

• mapping to match areas with excellent renewable energy resources
with areas where the viability of traditional agriculture is declining;
• building links between governments at every level, the communities and renewable energy developers; and
• establishing Renewable Energy Development Zones, making investment in
the zones simple and attractive with streamlined planning approvals
processes, support for skills development, and government funding for
interconnectors to the main energy grid.

“In order to stop catastrophic climate change we must reduce our
emissions and to do that we need a strong, clean, renewable energy
sector providing 25% of our total energy by 2020. This policy offers a
plan for achieving this, as well as helping our regional communities to
build a strong sustainable future,” concluded Sarah Hanson-Young.

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