Banks have shed more light on Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s incompetent bungling of the Rudd Government’s Green Loans program, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Action Simon Birmingham said today.
Details are contained in a submission from the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) to the Senate’s inquiry into the failed Green Loans program, which has left 100,000 Australians unable to access the promised loans and thousands of assessors out of work.
The ABA’s submission makes clear that:
  • Banks had reservations about the program from the beginning – with only two banks actually offering Green Loans – as a result of not all of their suggestions having been adopted in the original design phase
  • The Government’s decision to discontinue the loans component was made without consulting participating financial institutions, who had made significant investments of time and resources in implementing it
  • Technical problems at the Department’s end resulted in mismatches of numbers associated with the loan applications and pre-requisite sustainability assessments, and ultimately a backlog of loan applications
  • Complaints made to banks increased significantly, with a significant number of them from people waiting to receive their assessment reports from the Department
  • Banks’ experience with programs such as Green Loans will have an impact on any consideration of partnering with the Federal Government on programs in the future
“The banks’ experiences with Green Loans are further indictment of Minister Garrett’s ability to manage and deliver this program, and highlight why it was stripped from his responsibility,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Banks and credit unions are just one group of people to have lost time or money as a result of the Green Loans debacle, with thousands of assessors left virtually unemployed and many homeowners disillusioned.
“It should also be of concern to the Rudd Government that banks might be reluctant to take part in such programs in the future.
“I look forward to these and other issues surrounding the Green Loans debacle being fully explored by our Senate inquiry.”