Green Loans Scheme headed for collapse

Green loans scheme headed for collapse

Canberra, Wednesday 21 October 2009

The Rudd Government’s Green Loans Scheme cannot handle the community
demand and is headed for collapse, according to figures obtained in
Senate Estimates hearings late last night.

“Tens of thousands of Australian families and households have registered
their interest in greening up their homes, but a pitiful 58 loans have
been processed to date,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator
Christine Milne said.

“Demand for green loans outstrips the scheme’s capabilities by so much
that it is headed for the same fate as the rooftop solar rebate, solar
schools program and other green initiatives that have been
unceremoniously dumped when they became too successful.”

The Greens Loans Scheme was an election promise to provide zero interest
loans to householders who want to green up their homes. It was
originally intended to start in January 2009, but finally started in
July, with technical hitches in the scheme’s web portal slowing it down
even further.

Under the scheme, accredited assessors conduct household energy audits.
The audits are provided to the government which in turn provides the
householder with an assessment report which they can then use to obtain
a low interest loan from a financial institution.

According to figures obtained in Senate Estimates hearings late last
night:
* the scheme is aimed at providing 75,000 loans over four years;
* the scheme budgets for 20,000 loans in the current financial
year;
* to date, 44,000 households have registered for the home energy
audits;
* 27,044 assessments have been completed;
* some 12,000 reports have been sent out in recent weeks;
* 58 loans have been approved as at the end of September, with
none at all before the beginning of that month;
* as few as 317 reports are currently under consideration by
financial institutions.

“The mismatch between the demand for the loans, the number of loans
budgeted for, and the number of loans actually processed shows just how
much the Rudd Government has again underestimated the community feeling
about dealing with the climate crisis.

“I’m deeply concerned that, if the Green Loans Scheme can get over its
serious teething troubles, it will end up collapsing under its own
weight.

“With 44,000 registrations and only 317 reports under consideration, you
can guarantee that there will be a nasty crunch in the next few months.

“Mr Rudd has followed closely in Mr Howard’s footsteps, closing down
green schemes when demand outstrips budgeting, as the rooftop solar and
solar schools programs show.

“That approach has a major human cost, as well as environmental and
economic, with thousands of people who had secured jobs thanks to the
schemes tossed on the scrap heap.

“The Green Loans Scheme must be urgently fixed before it meets the same
fate.”

Tim Hollo
Media Adviser
Senator Christine Milne | Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Climate
Change Spokesperson
Suite SG-112 Parliament House, Canberra ACT | P: 02 6277 3588 | M: 0437
587 562
http://www.christinemilne.org.au/| www.GreensMPs.org.au
<http://www.greensmps.org.au/>

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