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Garrett misleads Australia on solar rebate.

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The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water

Peter Garrett today misled Australia when he claimed the Rudd Government never said that the solar panel rebate would end on June 30.

The fact is they did - and if Mr Garrett repeats that claim in Parliament he could be out of a job for misleading the House. He told ABC Radio today: “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.”

That’s being flexible with the truth at best. It’s laughable, dishonest and patently misleading.

Why else would just every solar company in Australia have spent recent months urging customers to ‘go solar’ with the rebate before 30 June? If the date was wrong, why didn’t Mr Garrett even mention tell them? So much for working with industry on the transition arrangements.

The reality is that the Government was always planning transition from 30 June to 1 July.

On 17 December last year, Mr Garrett was asked on the ABC’s PM program:

“So the rebate and the means test will be phased out after the 1st of July next year in favour of the new system. Is that correct?”

Mr Garrett said:

“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.”

In a COAG communiqué in April, it stated:

“Solar Credits are intended to commence from 1 July 2009.”

In Budget Paper 2, they announced funding for the Solar Homes program:

“…until the program transitions to Solar Credits under the expanded Renewable Energy Target on 1 July 2009.” (page 206)

If a private company tried to do this the industry regulator would come down on them like a tonne of bricks. Mr Garrett’s claim on the 30 June deadline was an embarrassing distortion of the truth.