A Greens motion calling on the government to immediately reinstate and extend the scrapped solar hot water rebate passed the Senate today with support from the Opposition.
"The outcry from the community and industry shows that the government has made the wrong decision here and should act quickly to reinstate and extend support for solar hot water," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"Solar hot water is a clean, green manufacturing industry central to the move to a clean energy future. It creates jobs, is building an export industry, and helps householders save money on their power bills.
"If this was a car maker or a smelter struggling to cope with the high dollar and cheap, lower quality imports, the government would bend over backwards to help them, not pull the rug out from underneath them even further.
"Unlike the multi-billion dollar subsidies to the big polluters that have been in place for decades, the solar hot water industry says it only needs assistance for a few years before it becomes competitive in its own right.
"If the Gillard government is serious about moving to a clean energy future, it should immediately bring back its support for the solar hot water industry, to help it through the hard times that are hitting so many manufacturers right now."
That the Senate:
a. that solar hot water is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce householders' power bills and cut greenhouse gas emissions;
b. that the Australian solar water heating industry employs more than 1000 people in manufacturing and many more in installation around the country, and is beginning to develop as an export industry; and
c. that the Australia solar water heating industry is already under pressure from the high Australian dollar, low renewable energy certificate prices and imports of instantaneous gas hot water systems; and
2. Calls on the government to:
a. immediately reinstate and extend the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme which has helped a quarter of a million Australians to reduce their power bills and which has supported the development of a clean manufacturing and installation industry.
b. release information about the extent to which the scheme's forecast expenditure will exceed actual spending in 2011/12 and 2012/13.