The clean energy industry is urging the federal government to “hold its nerve” and deliver an ambitious and coordinated package of budget incentives to win back investors.

Responding to criticism of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Made in Australia Act, a group of energy and finance leaders joined forces on Thursday to call for the scale of budget support required for decarbonisation.

In a joint statement, they urged Treasurer Jim Chalmers to use the May budget to encourage investment, as rival economies throw trillions of dollars into renewable energy and clean tech to secure their national interests.

Australia can’t afford to “sit out” the accelerating global transition and needs taxpayer support to unlock the private capital needed for zero-emissions economic opportunities, they said.

The Clean Energy Investor Group, representing developers and investors with a combined $38 billion renewable energy portfolio and a project pipeline of almost 50 gigawatts, said the Act could unlock significant investment through the superannuation system.

Chief scientist at grassroots organisation Rewiring Australia Saul Griffith said the legislation would put Australia in step with other countries already investing in their own futures and ensure the profits do not flow overseas.

“It’s a great opportunity for Australian households,” Dr Griffiths said.

“We need the government to coordinate Australian public and private investment in the processing of critical minerals and development of technologies from home-grown innovators in green metals,” he said.

A solar farm south of Canberra.

The Smart Energy Council says Australia can play a key role in solar and battery supply chains. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

While critics have slammed the Albanese government’s move to subsidise local industry, the Smart Energy Council said Australia can play a key role in the solar and battery manufacturing supply chains.

“For too long Australia has been a dig-and-ship country. In the future we can value-add to those minerals and export zero-carbon iron and other products to the world,” CEO John Grimes said.

“The Smart Energy Council is looking to the federal budget to lay the foundations for Australia to be a renewables and critical minerals superpower,” he said.

Climate Energy Finance think tank director Tim Buckley said the “ambitious and visionary” Made in Australia Act sets the nation up for the speed and scale of investment for a place in the global net-zero economy.

“We urge the government to hold its nerve and deliver an ambitious and coordinated package of budget incentives,” Mr Buckley said.

This would enable Australia to pivot from the “historic over-dependence on fossil fuels” to a zero-emissions global trade and investment leader, he said.

Kane Thornton, CEO of the industry’s Clean Energy Council said the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act had completely reshaped the global energy transformation in its first year.

“It is time for Australia to step up and prioritise smart policy and support in this new era,” he said.

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