News | 23rd Dec, 2012

State government flicks the off switch on environmental programs

23 December 2012
Farrah Tomazin, The Age

THE state government is scrapping a number of environmental programs – and blaming Canberra's carbon tax – in order to prop up its bottom line.

Last week's budget update confirms the government plans to save $16.6 million over the next four years by getting rid of energy-efficiency programs that the Coalition claims are unnecessary now that the Commonwealth's carbon tax is in place.

One of the programs is the state's GreenPower initiative, which provides funding for government departments and agencies to purchase renewable energy. Another is the state's solar hot water rebate, which was designed to take $180-$660 off annual power bills by replacing electric hot water systems with new solar electric or gas-boosted systems.

The government says the changes are consistent with an agreement between the Council of Australian Governments to reduce duplication between state and federal energy schemes…

Environment Victoria chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy said it was disingenuous for the government to oppose the carbon price, while at the same time using it as an excuse to slash programs. ''The reality is that while the carbon price is essential, it's not yet big enough to drive significant actions to reduce greenhouse emissions, especially given all the fossil fuel subsidies and compensation flowing to business to continue to pollute. We still require complementary measures, including those that the state government has announced it will now slash.''


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