Media Releases | 28th Jan, 2009

Rethink needed on Victorian solar laws

Wednesday 28 January, 2009

Environment Victoria today called on the Victorian Government to go back to the drawing board on its proposed solar laws.

The call follows The Age article published today, which found that the government was being advised by its own departments to introduce a ‘German-style’ solar scheme which paid people a premium for all of the energy produced from a solar installation.

Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria campaigns director, said it was now clear that the Brumby Government had acted against the advice of its own departments in deciding to introduce an ineffective solar scheme, and greatly exaggerated the costs to households when they announced the scheme, using costings above those included in Cabinet submissions.

“Victorians wanting real action on climate change will be outraged that Cabinet ignored the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s advice that the government should learn from the experience of over 40 countries internationally and introduce strong solar laws,” he said.

“It is ironic that these documents have come to light in a week when Victoria is experiencing one of its worst heatwaves ever, putting major stress on our outdated electricity network.

“Instead of putting our powerful sun to work, the Brumby Government has caved into polluter interests by continuing with a business as usual approach to power generation.

“Minister Batchelor and the Premier both claimed the solar scheme proposed by environment groups would cost households $100 a year. The Cabinet submissions revealed by The Age prove there was no basis to these claims.”

Mr Wakeham said the proposed solar laws, as they stood, would be ineffective.

“Environment Victoria calls on the ALP Government to take the advice of its own Department of Sustainability and Environment and introduce a gross feed-in tariff of 60c/KWh,” he said.

“If the ALP fails to improve the legislation, Environment Victoria urges the Liberals, Nationals, Greens and DLP to work together to secure a future for Victoria’s solar industry and to put solar power within reach of every Victorian household.

“Premier Brumby talks about Victoria leading the fight against climate change. The solar laws are a key test of his government’s commitment to the environment and to green jobs. They failed the test the first time but there is still time for the government to deliver an effective solar scheme and pass the test at the second sitting.

“We’ve been waiting for these solar laws since they were first announced in November 2006. We’re happy to wait for a few extra weeks for the government to get the scheme right.”

For interview: Mark Wakeham, Environment Victoria campaigns director, on 0439 700 501.

Media contact: Sacha Myers on 9341 8113 or 0417 017 844