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Clean energy investment gets the chop

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Mark Butler



Date: 26 September 2013

On the day of the first board meeting of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation since the election, the Shadow Minister for the Environment Mark Butler and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC have condemned the Abbott Government's decision to shut down investment by the CEFC.

“In the short time that it has been operating, the CEFC has attracted a very sound $1.6 billion in private capital investment, creating jobs and growing businesses while promoting innovation and investment in renewable energy,” Mr Butler said.

"It is already helping to transform the economy for a cleaner energy future.

“By creating a stable investment environment and supporting clean energy innovators, the CEFC is helping to commercialise new technologies and to build the skilled workforce of the future.

“The Abbott Government’s directive to the CEFC to suspend its operations puts at risk hundreds of jobs and stymies future jobs growth in new industries, not to mention turning back the clock on renewable energy.

“This short-sighted, retrograde decision to scuttle investment worth billions of dollars makes a mockery of Mr Abbott’s claim that Australia ‘is once more open for business’.”

The Board meets today to consider its future in the context of the Abbott Government's new commitment to abolish it.

Mr Dreyfus said ordering the CEFC to cease operating was seriously questionable from a legal standpoint.

“In 2012 the Labor Government established the CEFC as a statutory authority to ensure it would be free from political interference,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Under the Act by which the CEFC was established, if the Government wants to terminate investment by the CEFC, it will have to introduce legislation into the Parliament - it cannot do

so simply by Government edict.

“Leaving aside legal questions, there is no rationale for closing down a body that ticks all the boxes.

“The CEFC makes rigorously commercial assessments, is low cost and has generated clean energy projects of four times its own outlay - it simply makes no sense to throw the baby out with the bath water.”

The CEFC is a legislated fund dedicated to investing in clean energy. Under its

enabling legislation, its investment activities are funded through a special

appropriation of $2 billion to a special account every year for five years, from 1 July

2013. For information on CEFC projects