AS FARMERS responded to the federal government's budget this week, news also surfaced that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) would be cut.
The institution was originally established to make energy more affordable, while also increasing the amount of renewable energy used in Australia.
ARENA's current contracted R&D projects will be maintained, but the government said its functions will be shifted to the Department of Industry - along with $15 million to fund new projects in 2015-16.
It is one of many research institutions to be cut or merged in the budget.
Combined with the fact that the federal government is reviewing the Renewable Energy Target of 20 per cent by 2020, it sounds out a clear message the Coalition is not willing to strongly back renewable energy in Australia.
While the Direct Action Plan is gearing up to pay companies to reduce greenhouse gases, there is now very little incentive for Australia to work collectively in implementing a common-sense approach to energy in Australia.
The Ag Institute of Australia held a forum on energy last week, which explored alternative energy sources and ways to ease electricity prices.
Victorian president Michael Graefe said the group held the forum partly because it wanted to start a debate on this topic, but he also said energy prices were becoming a huge burden on farm businesses.
He said the government needed to take a more balanced approach to energy in Australia, with a bigger emphasis on cost-effectively storing energy from sources such as solar.
In particular, he was very excited about the prospects of geothermal power, where energy is sourced from the ground or bodies of water.
But at the moment, the government is sending a message fossil fuels will continue to provide the bulk of electricity for the country, and limited research will be carried out to change this fact.
With the climate changing, it is becoming more apparent that Australia needs to get on the front foot in terms of reducing greenhouse gases, before it is too late.
A plan on how renewable energy is expected to fit into Australia's future would be a good start in addressing this issue, but at the moment this isn't happening.
Maybe the government should take advice from Germany, where it was revealed this week 75 per cent of the country's power was now being sourced from renewable sources - and power prices had been reduced as a result.