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 administration were an eleventh hour ‘no show’ on the orders of Minister Peter Garrett.
“Today’s hearing in Perth is another important opportunity giving voice to contractors, suppliers and others adversely affected by the government’s ill considered $100,000 household means test on the rebate of up to $8000,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“This means test has been a double whammy for the environment and the economy, with a loss of carbon reduction and also jobs as a result of millions of dollars in solar business drying up.”
Companies appearing today are among those to have lodged submissions detailing dramatic loss of business:
Some dealers tell of a substantial reduction in enquiries; other tell of lost marketing dollars as now the majority of those targeted by campaigns are now ineligible. Electricians, new to the solar industry after spending their time and money undertaking the requisite training to become BCSE?Accredited, now talk of being let down by the Government. Not only has their market evaporated overnight, but they don’t even qualify for the rebate for their own homes!
… we believe … the outcome will be a reduction in average size from 1.6 kW to just 1 kW. This means that the Government’s funding is not being leveraged to the degree it was previously, and less carbon dioxide is being mitigated – surely not the desired outcome?
Alex Lamond, CEO, Solco Ltd
… we were getting a lot of enquiries from future customers within the mining industries etc, that felt they needed to do right by the environment & were looking at installing Solar Grid connect systems. Needless to say this sentiment was lost as soon as the rebate became means tested on this scale.
            Brian Jones, Switched-On Electrical/Solar
Unfortunately after the Govt budget new means tested rebate parameters eliminated approx 75% of people who wanted to do something about climate change who now simply can not afford to so! They have all expressed their total disgust at the Govt after most of them voted them in on their environmental policies which now appear to be only used to get them voted in and now they are watering them down.
Brett Easton, Managing Director, Renewablelogic
Today’s hearing starts at 9.00am in Legislative Assembly Meeting Room 1, 11 Harvest Terrace, West Perth. Further details of the inquiry, including submissions, hearing dates and agendas, can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eca_ctte/solar_rebate/index.htm.