Minister is grilled about why Australia relies almost exclusively on China to make products that are crucial to the nation’s future – leaving nation badly exposed if Beijing cuts trade again
- Australia’s energy minister Angus Taylor in heated discussion over solar power
- Outspoken radio announcer Ben Fordham grilled him on over-reliance on China
- About 80 per cent of Australia’s solar panels are manufactured by Chinese firms
- By 2030 solar power is expected to make up 50% of Australia’s energy capacity
Australia’s energy minister copped a grilling in a high-voltage discussion about the nation’s over-reliance on Chinese solar technology.
Outspoken radio announcer Ben Fordham asked Angus Taylor why more than 80 per cent of Australia’s solar panels are being imported from the totalitarian state when they could be made Down Under.
The take up of solar panels is predicted to surge 400 per cent by 2030, making up almost half of the nation’s total electricity generation.
But with such a crucial technology in the hands of Chinese manufacturers, it could spell disaster for Australia if diplomatic squabbles continue.
Outspoken radio announcer Ben Fordham (pictured) asked Angus Taylor why more than 80 per cent of Australia’s solar panels are being imported from the totalitarian state when they could be made Down Under
With such a crucial technology in the hands of Chinese manufacturers, it could spell disaster for Australia if diplomatic squabbles continue (stock image)
Beijing has already tried to punish Australia over calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, criticism of China’s human right record and the banning of Huawei from the national 5G rollout.
As retaliation the communist country imposed billions of dollars worth of arbitrary bans and tariffs on key exports like barley, beef, cotton, timbre, seafood and wine in 2020.
If the spat worsens China may look to disrupt Australia’s solar energy sector in years to come, as the Canberra pursues its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
‘When are we going to start making them here? Fordham asked.
‘This is Aussie technology, but now 90 per cent of the panels we buy come from China.’
Mr Taylor admitted it’s a strategic problem that needs to be rectified by the government.
‘This is a big focus. We’ve prioritised solar technology as a crucial technology for Australia,’ Mr Taylor said.
‘We’ve got the highest rate of household solar in the world in Australia. We want to see more manufacturing in Australia.’
Mr Taylor (pictured) admitted it’s a strategic problem that needs to be rectified by the government
The take up of solar panels in Australia is predicted to soar 400 per cent by 2030, making up almost half of the nation’s total electricity generation. Pictured: Shanghai rooftop solar panels
Probed to give details about what the government’s plans are to jump start the solar manufacturing sector, the energy minister said he ‘is still working that through’.
‘You gave $33million last week towards locally manufactured foods, so how much money are you going to throw at solar?’ Fordham asked.
Mr Taylor replied by hinting more funding will be made available in the future.
‘There’s no doubt that we’ve already thrown a significant amount at solar in this country and salary search in manufacturing and will continue to in the coming years,’
‘We do have a local producer in South Australia – Tindo – and I strongly encourage people to support that local manufacturer.’