Funds allocated, but the return unknown

  The Rudd Labor Government has revealed it can’t yet say how much water is likely to be returned to environmental flows as a result of almost $4 billion in infrastructure funding already allocated in principle, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   Under questioning in Senate Supplementary Budget Estimates, Water Minister Penny Wong today revealed…

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Minister’s sudden reluctance to advertise his views

  Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has gone to great pains to avoid saying whether he believes “in program” advertising on SBS is in accordance with its obligations under its Act, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   “Senator Conroy has become remarkably coy on this matter as Minister, given his past comments as Shadow Minister when…

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Stage set for Garrett backflip

  Environment Minister Peter Garrett should take advantage of a tailor-made opportunity tomorrow to announce a much needed backflip on the Rudd Government’s unpopular solar rebate means test, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   “The solar industry, environmental groups and unions have all attacked with good reason the $100,000 household means test on the rebate…

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Future of Solar Rebate in the Dark

  The Rudd Government must guarantee the future of the solar rebate program, after refusing even to commit to it still being available by the New Year.   A failure to commit more funding means the program is surviving only on a week-by-week basis.   Under questioning in Senate Estimates, Senator Penny Wong has dodged…

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Labor shuts down scrutiny over Broadband

  The Rudd Labor Government has sought to avoid any scrutiny of its moves to establish its ill-defined $4.7 billion National Broadband Network by refusing to answer any questions about the process in Senate Budget Estimates, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has this morning attempted to shut down all discussion…

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South Australian business outlines its solar pain

  South Australian solar panel installers will today tell of the damage caused to their business by the Rudd Government’s means test on solar panel rebates, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   Today’s Senate committee inquiry hearing follows those in Melbourne and also Canberra, where Environment Department officials responsible for the rebate program’s administration…

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Minister harpooned on Hollway appointment

  A timeline of events linked to the appointment of new whaling envoy Sandy Hollway has become only more puzzling after a Parliamentary committee hearing overnight, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   Despite reports in early May – denied by the Government at the time – that Mr Hollway had been selected as Australia’s first…

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Garrett’s green grants going gangrenous

  Two of the Government’s leading climate change policies are looking fatally flawed because of the inaction and indifference of Environment Minister Peter Garrett, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   Senate Budget Estimates last night revealed that no progress had been made since the election on implementing the Government’s $300 million Green Loans policy…

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WA business outlines its solar pain

  Western Australian solar panel installers will today tell of the damage caused to their business by the Rudd Government’s means test on solar panel rebates, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.   Today’s Senate committee inquiry hearing follows those in Adelaide, Melbourne and also Canberra, where Environment Department officials responsible for the rebate program’s…

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