On the eve of the May Federal Budget, it’s timely to consider where the government should make the best investment decisions. Australia has many of the building blocks it needs to achieve a net zero emissions future, including abundant sources of solar and wind, huge deposits of critical minerals essential to the energy transition, and lots of land. Yet Australia’s renewable energy industry is growing at half the pace needed for the sector to meet the Albanese government’s emissions reduction goal of a 43% reduction by 2030. Against a backdrop of rising costs of clean energy projects, inflation, and the knock-on effects of rising energy bills, Australian governments have their work cut out. The investment and policy environment they create must ensure Australia’s transition to clean energy happens at the pace and scale required, whilst simultaneously bringing along communities and people as supporters and partners. The United States’ ambitious Inflation Reduction Act not only set a precedent as the largest investment in climate and energy in history, it has given the US a massive uplift in clean energy innovation. Raising ‘opportunity lock out’ concerns for Australia, the US$369 billion package of climate measures introduced last year is likely drawing much needed capital for renewable energy projects by the generous incentives offered. Canada has quickly responded, introducing a renewable energy investment tax credit in their 2023 Budget to make Canada more attractive for investment in clean energy projects. Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act poses a threat to Australia if we don’t ambitiously respond. One way we can try and match the US and Canada is to give First Nations a place at the table.