News | 25th Jul, 2010

Solar plan raided to pay for guzzlers

Sunday, 25 July 2010
The Age, Melissa Fyfe and Mark Metherell

Australia's renewable energy industry was reeling yesterday after discovering a $520million budget cut to low-emissions technology in the fine print of Julia Gillard’s ‘‘cash-for-clunkers’’ announcement.

Ms Gillard said that owners of pre-1995 vehicles will be able to claim $2000 from January 1 next year to upgrade to cleaner cars.

She estimated that handouts would benefit 200,000 of the 2million owners of pre-1995 cars in Australia at a cost of $394million over four years.

But the move will be financed by cutting into existing carbon reduction programs, including $200million from the flagship solar power incentives and $150million off the renewable energy scheme that provides rebates to householders for solar hot water and heat pump systems.

Ms Gillard revealed that a total of $520million in cuts would be made to existing carbon reduction programs, including $150million off the controversial carbon capture and storage research program.

She said the cash for clunkers was a significant step to get ‘‘gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing’’ old cars off the road.

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