The Gillard Government and alliance partners the Greens today turned their back on the solar hot water industry, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Simon Birmingham said today.
Coalition efforts to reinstate the Solar Hot Water Rebate were today thwarted by Labor and Greens Senators voting against the Solar Hot Water Rebate Bill 2012 introduced by Senator Birmingham.
“The Bill required only that the Government spend in full the $63.5 million it allocated in the budget this financial year for solar hot water rebates,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“To their credit, Senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan voted with the Coalition for business certainty, but it was not enough to avoid the Bill’s defeat by 34 Labor-Green votes to 30.
“It is particularly disappointing that the Greens have given the thumbs up to Labor’s solar vandalism in last month prematurely shutting down the Solar Hot Water Rebate scheme without warning to either industry or households wanting to do their bit for the environment.
“It is disappointing that the Greens have rubber stamped the Government dishonouring its commitment to pay the rebates as allocated in the budget, with most if not all of the $24.5 million allocated for the 2012-13 financial year also likely to disappear.
“Solar hot water is a real and practical way that families can reduce their greenhouse emissions and cut their power bills ahead of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax on 1 July.
“The rebate’s premature closure shows the contradiction of both this Government and their Greens bedfellows being happy to slug industry and families with the world’s largest carbon tax from 1 July but which remove a valuable solar program.
“Unlike Labor or the Greens, the Coalition is committed to the solar industry and our Direct Action Plan includes rebates for the installation of solar hot water systems.”