Aug 30, 2006

Our clean energy future needs a lot more than solar cities

Our clean energy future needs a lot more than solar cities


Anthony Albanese MP

Shadow Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water

Senator Kim Carr

Shadow Minister for Housing and Urban Development

30 August 2006

Today’s re-announcement by the Prime Minister that Adelaide will receive grants as part of the Solar Cities program is welcome, however the program is a fraction of what is required to encourage renewable energy and make our cities sustainable.

When John Howard originally announced the Solar Cities program on 15 June 2004 – 26 months ago – he said Adelaide would be a “prime location”. That’s a long time between announcements and demonstrates this one has more to do with marginal seat campaigning than a genuine commitment to solar energy.

Meanwhile, the Howard Government has slammed the door on the popular Photovoltaic Rebate Program (PVRP), which is responsible for more than a quarter of the 25,000 solar panels on rooftops across Australia.

In July 2007, the sun will set on the PVRP, which provides Australians wherever they live with a direct rebate of up to $4,000 for a solar system. Solar PV has grown by 40% globally over the past five years, but only by 16% in Australia.

Australia needs a national plan to roll out solar energy and other renewables. Labor believes Australia needs to transform our solar sector into a world beating solar industry as big as coal is today.

Labor will ensure Australia’s 10,000 schools are solar schools. Australia should have 1.5 million solar powered homes by 2015 and 2.25 million homes by 2020.

Australia also needs a plan to secure the health of our cities into the future.

One year since the landmark Sustainable Cities report was tabled in Parliament, the Howard Government has not responded. The Government has no plan to ensure Australia’s cities remain among the most liveable in the world.

John Howard has blocked every serious initiative to cut Australia’s soaring greenhouse pollution. When land use changes are excluded, that rise is a disastrous 25.1 per cent between 1990 and 2004.