Wong confirms solar panel rebate is on hold

06/06/2018 Posted by admin

CANBERRA – There will be no rebate for solar panels for some months, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has confirmed, after a scheme to massively boost renewable energy was put on hold. The green energy sector has warned that hundreds of workers could get the sack because of the delay. The Senate has put off a vote on the Renewable Energy Target Scheme until August at the earliest. It’s a problem for the Government, which is struggling to get its climate change agenda up. The two major climate policies – the target scheme and Emissions Trading Scheme – are both likely to be held up in the Senate. And it’s a problem for households who want to go solar. The Government last week axed its $8000 rebate for solar panels. A new, smaller rebate will not start until the target scheme laws have passed Parliament. The Government had planned for that to happen next week, but the Coalition, Family First Senator Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon scotched that plan in the Senate. Matthew Warren, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, warned that hundreds of workers could be immediately laid off as a result. “Clean energy companies around Australia will now put hiring plans on hold and in some cases be forced to start shedding staff,” he said. Mr Warren said the Renewable Energy Target Scheme laws should have been passed a year ago. The Government promised the target scheme – 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020 – before the last election. But the laws were only tabled in Parliament on Wednesday. And the Government has linked the renewable target scheme to the already embattled energy target scheme. Adding to the controversy is the fact that the Government changed the solar rebate twice in a year before axing it, only to replace it with a third rebate. Senator Wong attacked the Coalition for delaying action on global warming. She defended the decision to end the old rebate. “It was the fiscally responsible thing to do,” Senator Wong said. Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said it was the Government’s fault the target scheme laws were not ready. The vote has been delayed so a Senate committee can hold an inquiry into the laws by August 12.
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