A key election promise of thousands of loans for environmentally friendly home improvements has been disappearing before our very eyes, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Revelations of appallingly low take up rates have been made in Senate Additional Budget Estimates under questioning from Senator Birmingham, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Action.
“Labor promised at the 2007 election to subsidise 200,000 Green Loans for Australian households making use of solar, water saving, and energy efficient products,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Last year’s budget saw the Green Loans target figure slashed to 75,000, of which 20,000 were to have been delivered this financial year.
“Yet despite subsidising 143,000 home sustainability assessments, just 1008 loans have actually been invoiced.
“That is, just 1008 Green Loans have been granted by financial institutions who have invoiced the Government for the subsidy.
“The fact that less than one-in-a-hundred assessments result in people taking out a loan is itself a clear demonstration of systemic problems within the program.
“The Department has received no invoices since December and no advice of any new loans in the last week, suggesting that the take-up rate is getting worse, not better, as time goes on.
“Minister Garrett earlier today attempted to divert attention from some of the Green Loans program’s problems by announcing an independent audit.
“However, it’s been revealed in Estimates that the key issue of low take-up rates will not be considered by the audit.
“Australians can only dream of their loan repayments disappearing as quickly as the Rudd Government’s commitment to delivering Green Loans for Australian households.
“It is time for Mr Garrett and Mr Rudd to admit they were never going to be able to deliver on their false promises in relation to Green Loans.”