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Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Page: 6167


Mr JOHNSON (8:30 PM) —It only took eight hours for the federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts to disappoint the people of Australia who are interested in solar panel installation. Why are they disappointed? They are disappointed because the Rudd government had promised in its budget that the $8,000 rebate would continue until 30 June. Of course, as we now know, the Rudd government’s spin, talk, hype and rhetoric have proved to really exist.

The people of Ryan will certainly be very upset about this. If those in the government do not believe me as a member of the opposition and as the member for Ryan then they can take it from everyday Australians. Take it from Mr Gary Solomons, who lives in the Ryan electorate. In an email to me on the morning of Wednesday, 10 June he said:

Dear Mr Johnson

…            …            …

Many reports today indicate that Peter Garrett stated the program would run till the end of June, and today he says that was a date picked by the sellers/marketers of the solar panels. They have been advertising this date for many months, so if it was incorrect, why haven’t the government made them change their apparent “false advertising”? I can only conclude that it was not false.

This is just one more nail in the coffin of the Labor Government. Any votes that were bought with the 1st and 2nd “Economic Stimulus Package”, would now be dwindling away as the electors see the real Government coming to light.

I believe this is going to be a one-term Labor Government, and I look forward to the current “Opposition”, for all its faults, being returned to power at the next Federal election.

Gary Solomons

To that I say: hear, hear! Thank you, Mr Solomons. Many others have indicated their absolute disgust at this.

Mr Garrett himself defends his and the government’s position by saying:

We didn’t say that it would end on June 30 and we did say that we’d work with the industry to transition new arrangements.

But what did he say on 17 December last year when he was asked about this? This was put to him:

So the rebate and the means test will be phased out after the 1st July next year in favour of the new system.

He was asked: is that correct? The response from the minister for the environment was:

That’s correct. From July the 1st, we will provide upfront assistance in the form of solar credits for new small-scale solar, wind, and hydro renewables.

This is just treachery; this is betrayal.

The people of Ryan certainly have become aware of the spin, hype and rhetoric that exists in this government. How can you trust a minister in the government making a statement in the budget and then going back on it? There has to be something that ordinary people can rely on. This is what a businessman says:

It’s just crazy that the Government had a policy that worked and they have canned it. It was an ambush, there was no warning at all for people like me, but I think that was their aim. It was just a victim of its own success.

This is an appalling situation. The federal government have led people to believe that they are the party for the environment, that they are the party for improving the way we look after our local communities and that they are the party that can best tackle issues around climate change and global warming. I say that is just absolutely bonkers. This is not an authentic government in terms of their policy on renewables.

I certainly want to put on the record that we do need to explore all kinds of renewable energy options. We need to explore solar, ethanol, geothermal and tidal energy. Nuclear is an issue that we have to come to terms with. We have to have that debate in this country. I know that the people of Ryan want substantive debate from members of parliament and from the government, not engagement in misleading rhetoric that will completely disenfranchise and affect small businesses around the country. Even the Greens do not agree with the government, which certainly says something. I just call on the government to revisit this. I know the wiser heads in the government are concerned because bit by bit, suburb by suburb, street by street, the government is fast losing its support. I know from my own feedback that the people in the Ryan electorate who may have had some warmth for the government certainly do not see the government in the very best of light today. (Time expired)