Steve Crichton, from Crichton’s Plumbing, is concerned about the sudden removal of government rebates for solar hot water systems. PLUMBERS and associated south-west businessman have been left steaming after the federal government cut a rebate scheme for solar hot water installations.
Nanjing Night Net

The federal government axed the scheme last week as part of an overall push to cut spending and return the federal budget to surplus.

The scheme offered a $1000 rebate for a solar hot water system and $600 for a heat pump as part of an overall push towards renewable energy.

Crichton’s Plumbing owner Steve Crichton said businesses would have appreciated more notice from the federal government instead of an abrupt cancellation of the scheme.

He told The Standard the decision would create confusion for customers.

“Moving the goalposts like this isn’t very fair to business and there should have been more consultation,” Mr Crichton said.

“It’s rather an anomaly when the government has preached a move towards renewable energy and then goes ahead to cut a practical measure like the solar hot water scheme.

“Having said that, it’s not all doom-and-gloom in the sense that there’s still state government rebates (for some services).”

Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the federal government had sent a contradictory message to the wider community by axing the solar scheme while implementing the carbon tax. He said the rebate was terminated without any advance notice to businesses and suppliers.

“The government is following the same pattern of mismanagement as we saw for solar panels, pink batts, cash for clunkers and green loans,” Mr Tehan said.

“Unfortunately this latest debacle will also have similar outcomes with 1200 manufacturing and 6000 installation and administration jobs at risk across Australia.”

Climate Change parliamentary secretary Mark Dreyfus made the surprise announcement last week and told reporters the scheme’s cessation was part of an overall government push to return to surplus.

He said last week that households must have installed, purchased or ordered and paid a deposit on a system before close of business yesterday to qualify.

Rebate applications must be lodged before June 30.

“(The government made this decision) after providing some $320 million to the industry and providing a rebate to some 250,000,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“And, of course, this solar hot water service rebate program was always intended to close after five years.

“When it was announced by the then Liberal minister for the environment Malcolm Turnbull in July 2007, it was announced on those terms.”

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