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Greens $15 billion plan for a “Made in Australia” Bank to power clean energy future

The Greens will today outlined plans for a $15 billion “Made in Australia” Bank and manufacturing fund - bolstering Australia’s capacity to produce components needed for the transition to clean, cheap renewable energy.

Australian Greens Senator for WA Dorinda Cox will today be joined by Greens candidate for O’Connor Giz Watson in Kalgoorlie - a region with endless sunshine and huge potential as a renewable energy superhub.

The Greens’ plan will provide a massive boost to the local Goldfields economy and provide a much-needed buffer against the ‘boom and bust mining’ cycles that the region has experienced for decades. 

A $15 billion ‘Made in Australia’ manufacturing bank would support greater metals processing, manufacturing, innovation, industrial decarbonisation and re-localisation of supply chains as the world transitions to a pollution free economy. For places like Kalgoorlie, it means creating jobs and adding value right here from these minerals instead of just sending it all offshore.  

This manufacturing bank would have a similar structure to the existing Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), meaning it would provide direct grants, equity investment, financing and concessional loan options depending on the corporate structure of applicants. $3 billion in direct grants would also be available for co-investment.

The Kalgoorlie region is perfectly situated for Australia’s ‘manufacturing renaissance’. It can generate plenty of renewable energy to bring down the cost and emissions of manufacturing, making Australian made products much more attractive, while also decarbonising our economy and exports.

There are great opportunities to be harnessed here in supply chains for batteries and electric vehicle components, wind turbines and public transport infrastructure made with emissions-free steel. 

Many local mining companies have been actioning their decarbonising journey, with Agnew Gold Mine near Leinster for example, largely generating renewable energy to run its operations - bringing down both emissions and overhead costs. Miners would have much more reason to accelerate their plans for zero-emissions operations if they were encouraged to do so by Government policy - something that has been completely absent from successive Liberal Governments. 

The Greens have long championed a strong transition to clean, green renewable energy industries in regional hubs like Kalgoorlie. In 2013, then-Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam pitched Kalgoorlie as a solar hub that would take advantage of funds supplied by the Federal Government's CEFC.

Comments attributable to Dorinda Cox, Australian Greens Senator for WA:

“Clean, cheap abundant energy from our vast sun and wind resources will be Australia’s competitive advantage in net zero global trade, but only if we seize it. With such abundance of sun and wind energy, we can drive energy costs close to zero, which will see the return of manufacturing to hubs like Kalgoorlie. 

“This future can happen if we rapidly transition to a clean economy powered by renewable energy and export the rest of it to the world.”

Comments attributable to Giz Watson, Greens candidate for O’Connor:

“With the mining industry being one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, it makes sense for the industry to be motivated to change that. We know that miners want to transition to renewables and electric machinery because it also makes sense for their workers’ health and bottom line. It’s better for workers not to breathe in diesel fumes and to reduce reliance on expensive, dirty fossil fuels - we just need the right policies and encouragement for them to accelerate those plans. The Greens' plans do exactly that.

“Kalgoorlie industries, powered by renewable energy, can play a leading role in supplying the rapidly expanding international market for batteries and electrical vehicle components.”

Senator Cox and Giz Watson will be in Kalgoorlie today, and made available for interview on request.

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