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Inquiry set to start into Labor's solar panel means test.

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Media Release The Hon Greg Hunt MP Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Urban Water 2 July 2008 INQUIRY SET TO START INTO LABOR’S SOLAR PANEL MEANS TEST Solar companies and home owners hit by the Government’s means test on the solar panel rebate scheme are today being urged to provide evidence of their plight to a new Senate inquiry. The inquiry was set up after the outcry over the means test which has seen many house holders having to pay an extra $8000 to install solar panels. Solar panel companies have also reported losing up to 80 per cent of their contracts. The inquiry is part of a Private Member’s Bill which I introduced into Federal Parliament on 23 June and which is designed to reverse Labor’s means test. After using climate as a key issue in the lead up to the election the ALP used its first Budget to take a sledge hammer to smash the emerging solar panel industry. The means test has undermined the Rudd Government’s pre-election rhetoric on climate change. It’s one thing to sign a piece of paper but another thing to scrap the best chapter from a success story that helped this renewable industry to flourish. I am encouraging solar panel manufacturers, distributors and retailers to provide examples on how the means test is hurting their businesses and costing jobs. I also invite comment about the impact from concerned groups and individuals on how the Budget measure will hurt the environment. Families or people who were considering installing solar panels prior to the means test should also consider making submissions. Submissions to the inquiry can be made from today. Inquiry hearings will be held in capital cities in late July and early August. Companies and individuals hit by the $100,000 means test will have the opportunity to provide oral evidence in addition to written submissions. The closing date for submissions is 21 July. The Senate inquiry is due to report by 15 August. Further details about the inquiry are being published today in The Australian. Terms of reference and further information about the inquiry can be found at Media contact: John Deller on 03 5979 3188 or 0400 496 596