The Gillard Government has sent precisely the wrong signal for the move to a clean energy economy by cancelling support for solar hot water at 5pm last night, and must immediately reinstate and extend the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme, the Australian Greens said today.
"Solar hot water is a great Australian clean, green manufacturing industry, exporting to the world and helping householders to cut their power bills and their greenhouse footprint," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Cutting this scheme with no notice at all is a short-sighted sacrifice of a great industry to meet a political target of a budget surplus next year.
"Mark Dreyfus should put on the public record the costings for this scheme and the savings he is looking to get from unceremoniously cancelling it early. Only $24.5 million was set aside for the scheme in the 2012-13 budget, so savings will be minimal, but the costs to the industry huge.
"Mr Dreyfus should reinstate and extend the scheme, since it is one of the best and most efficient ways to help householders cut power bills and to drive the development of the clean energy economy the government loves to talk about.
"Businesses who are on the ground building the clean energy economy have invested in stock, parts and production schedules and are now being thrown on the scrap heap by the government.
"My office has taken calls from several businesses shocked that they would be treated in this way when car manufacturers, smelters and others in the old economy get handouts of hundreds of millions of dollars.
"The government should immediately reconsider this wrong decision and extend support for this industry which is producing one of the cheapest emissions reducing technologies and exporting it to the world."