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COAG must deliver solar certainty today.



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MEDIA RELEASE Senator Simon Birmingham Liberal Senator for South Australia

Thursday, 2 October 2008

COAG must deliver solar certainty today

The Rudd Government must use today’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to make decisions that deliver immediate certainty for the solar industry, Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham said today.

With support for solar installations listed as an agenda item for today’s meeting in Perth, Senator Birmingham said the Rudd Government also needed to scotch rumours they are preparing to abandon the solar rebate.

“The solar industry in Australia has been plagued by uncertainty ever since the Rudd Government’s last minute decision to introduce a household means test for rebates on solar system installations,” Senator Birmingham said today.

“This uncertainty is compounded by questions over how long the rebate program’s allocated funding will last, with rumours abounding it is about to be axed altogether due to lack of funding.

“Further confusion has abounded with various States and Territories pursuing differing models of Feed-In Tariffs, which also encourage solar installation.

“Today’s meeting in Perth must produce decisions, real outcomes and clear certainty for the solar industry. More reviews and committees that keep this emerging clean energy industry guessing just won't be good enough.

“The Rudd Government must guarantee it won't axe the solar rebate and shunt responsibility onto the States.

“The former Coalition Government had a clear plan for the solar industry involving funding commitments for the rebate program over five years.

“First, the Rudd Government cut this commitment back to three years, but of late has left the industry concerned that solar rebate funding could run out altogether any day.

“The solar industry is an important part of moving towards a clean energy future for Australia. The industry and the thousands of Australians willing to spend their savings installing solar systems deserve better than the Rudd Government has delivered to date.

“The Rudd Government can start to make amends today by using this COAG meeting to provide a clear plan that delivers absolute certainty for this sector that is so important to both our environment and our economy.”

Media contact: Senator Birmingham 0404 807 970