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Published on : Sep 17, 2014

The Australian Workers Union has asked for exemptions for the aluminum industry from the Renewable Energy Target. This is speculated to place increased pressure on Labor to draw up a bipartisan deal with the Coalition regarding amendments to the scheme.

Scott McDine, the national secretary for AWU has stated the Renewable Energy Target, if it progresses in its current state, would result in thousands of jobs transferring overseas without any impact on environmental gains.

Aluminum delegates from the AWU will hold a conference to pass a formal resolution that calls for a complete exemption from the RET. They will also request the deadline for attaining a 41,000-gigawatt large-scale target for renewable energy to be postponed by two years to 2022.

Many from the Australian industries reciprocate the call by the aluminum sector, including 25 Coalition backbench MPs. The RET could cost the industry about AU$ 80 million per year, according to estimates.

Dan Tehan, the leader of the Coalition backbench group and Victorian Liberal, spoke of the job risks that the RET posed on the Australian industry. He said that the industry is now beholden on the government as well as the opposition, who must make sure that all jobs in the aluminum smelting sector stay in Australia, instead of getting shipped abroad due to the RET.

Experts believe that the recent call to extend the RET deadlines could make room for further negotiations. The AWU however, is not planning to support the level of cuts examined by the Coalition.