Coalition efforts to reinstate the Solar Hot Water Rebate were today thwarted by Labor and Greens Senators voting against the Solar Hot Water Rebate Bill 2012.
The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said the Bill, introduced by Shadow Minister for the Environment, Simon Birmingham, simply required the Government use the funds it allocated in the current budget for solar hot water rebates as intended.
“In Victoria, around 20 per cent of household greenhouse gas emissions come from conventional hot water systems. Right across Victoria and the nation, households are making efforts to reduce their energy use to avoid the soaring price of electricity, only set to worsen when Labor’s carbon tax comes in on 1 July,” Senator McKenzie said.
“On 28 February 2012 the government announced the immediate closure of their solar hot water rebate, without any notice for the industry or consumers.
“It seems inherently contradictory behaviour that on one hand we would be implementing a carbon tax that is going to see families’ electricity costs rise, and on the other hand we are actually stripping away families’ capacity and, indeed, our skills and training capacity in the manufacturing sector, to assist people to deal with the cost of electricity,” she said in the chamber.
Senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan voted with the Coalition for business certainty, but it was not enough to avoid the Bill’s defeat by 34 Labor-Green votes to 30.
Senator McKenzie said families of the workers manufacturing the solar hot water systems and those who own the small businesses that supply and install the systems have lost a core chunk of their business and now face an uncertain future.
“The Gillard Government’s repeated flip flopping on its commitments creates an uncertain environment for businesses and families alike.
“Households are trying to find ways to be more energy efficient and cut their power bills ahead of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax on 1 July so I am disappointed this Bill did not get the support of Labor or the Greens.”