Jan 16, 2006

Howard Government must reconsider on Solar energy rebate

Howard Government must reconsider on Solar energy rebate


Senator Kim Carr

Shadow Minister for Housing; Urban Development; Local Government and Territories

Anthony Albanese MP

Shadow Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water

16 January 2006

The Howard Government is being grossly irresponsible and short sighted in slashing solar electricity rebates to community organisations and schools and phasing out financial incentives for residential and commercial solar power installations.

The fact that the Howard Government through the Australian Greenhouse Office has already halved the maximum rebate to community organisations and will gradually phase out the amount that can be claimed by private home owners is appalling.

The reality is that this rebate has played a major role in encouraging Australian organisations and householders to take up photovoltaic systems which produce low cost electricity and emit no green house emissions.

That is patently good for all Australia and of particular importance in our cities which are key contributors to our energy use, through households, industrial and commercial operations, urban transport and government functions.

In taking this action the Government is ignoring the bi-partisan report of the House of Representatives, Australia’s Future Cities, which actually recommended that the funding for the rebate be doubled.

To argue that this important and effective rebate can be replaced by the Solar Cities program under which only four Australian cities will experience the benefits of renewable energy is ridiculous.

As argued in Labor’s recently released discussion paper, Australia’s Future Cities, the Government must recognise that the Commonwealth can and should take an active role in addressing energy issues in our cities. It should be doing more to help our households and cities reduce their energy consumption and encouraging innovative urban design – not taking away resources from programs that actually work.

Just last week at the Asia Pacific Climate Pact meeting the government announced a pathetic $5 million dollars per year for renewable energy. This compares to the $55 million dollars spent on its industrial relations propaganda campaign.

The Howard Government has no credibility on tackling dangerous climate change. It’s said no to the Kyoto Protocol, it’s said no to greenhouse emissions trading, and it’s said no to increasing the mandatory renewable energy target.