A key election commitment of the Rudd Government appears to be in disarray and no closer to reality nearly two years after first being promised, Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Ongoing delays have already beset the Government’s Green Loans program, details of which were announced on Budget night last May.
Questioning in Senate Additional Estimates today has also been revealed the effectiveness of the program will be undermined thanks to the new insulation incentives contained in the Rudd Government’s recent spending spree.
“Green Loans were supposed to be available this financial year, but there are still no guidelines, no contracts with any financial institutions and clearly little chance of targets being met,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“By March we will have 830 assessors sitting on their butts, waiting for Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd to get around to finalising details of something they promised nearly two years ago.
“After consistently dragged its feet on Green Loans, the Government now appears to have totally stuffed it up by offering key measures that were to have been funded by loans, such as insulation, for free instead.”
Prior to announcing the new ‘pink batts’ freebies, the Government had budgeted for 120,000 homes to take up ceiling insulation, 40,000 homes wall insulation and 100,000 homes new hot water systems under the Green Loans program.
“Quite clearly, no sensible thinking person is going to take out a Green Loan for new insulation or hot water services when they can obtain a free grant instead,” Senator Birmingham said.
“Departmental officials are still talking about 9000 loans being offered this financial year which, on their own calculations, mean at least 13,000 assessments being made by the middle of May.
“But they have also conceded they are yet to recast their estimates as a result of the Government’s Energy Efficient Homes program announced last month.
“Just as the Government is in a shambles over its ETS, Peter Garrett appears to have made the ultimate dog’s breakfast out of what should have been a much simpler key election promise.”