The federal opposition is set to fight government efforts to dump the Solar Hot Water Rebate Scheme.
The scheme, which offered household rebates of $1,000 for installing solar hot water systems and $600 for installing heat pumps, was dumped without warning by the labour government at the end of February.
Now, however, the coalition is seeking the support of the Australian Greens for a Private Member’s Bill that will require the government to commit to the remainder of the funding that was initially allocated to the scheme ($64.5 million in 2011/12.)
The opposition coalition says the rebate was an efficient way for families to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and cut their power bills. It says the government showed not only a lack of regard for families in cutting the scheme early, but also a constant disregard for business throughout its tenure.
“Whether it’s the bungled home insulation scheme, the green loans scheme or live exports, (the government) has shut down programs and industries without notice or consultation,” the coalition said in a statement earlier this month. “These actions have put workers out of jobs and businesses at risk of financial ruin.”
Opposition frontbencher Greg Hunt is calling on the Australian Greens to support the bill, calling it a test of the Greens’ sincerity and commitment to the solar industry.
“A failure to support the bill will be an indication that the Greens are putting politics before principles,” he said.
The Greens’ had previously told reporters during a visit to a solar water heater manufacturer in western Sydney that subsidies should have continued.