Coalition to cut ARENA funding

The Coalition will cut funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency as part of $7.8 billion in savings from programs linked to carbon price and other emission reduction programs.

The Coalition has announced it will realise $7.8 billion of savings from programs linked to carbon price and other emission reduction programs. This includes cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

These cuts are detailed in a document from the Coalition explaining a series of broader budget savings the Coalition will seek to realise over the forward estimates.

So far the Coalition has been unable to provide much detail on the cuts to ARENA.  But Coalition staffers within Joe Hockey and Greg Hunt’s office have confirmed to Climate Spectator that ARENA funding cuts are part of a $1.5b savings measure described vaguely as "other measures linked to the carbon tax that are wasteful or will no longer be required". Also at a press conference this morning Joe Hockey stated that cuts to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA made up part of the $1.5b in savings.

However at the time of posting, Coalition staffers have not been able to provide Climate Spectator with a break-down on the $1.5b in cuts and how much will come from ARENA funding.

ARENA funding for each year is specified via specific legislation, and the legislation states that any unspent money can be used by ARENA in later years, not clawed back by Treasury.  So for the Coalition to realise permanent savings from ARENA they will need to pass changes to this legislation through the Senate. The other alternative is to continually defer ARENA funding into later years.

Other changes to climate programs they have revealed are:

  • Discontinuing the business compensation measures introduced to provide partial relief to selected sectors and industries from costs associated with the carbon price ($5.1 billion). This includes:

        --Removal of the increase in the instant asset write-off threshold to $6,500 ($0.2 billion);

        --Discontinuing the Jobs and Competitiveness Program ($4.0 billion);

        --Discontinuing the Steel Transformation Plan ($0.1 billion);

        --Discontinuing the Clean Technology Program ($0.4 billion);

        --Discontinuing the Coal Sector Jobs Package ($0.3 billion); and

        --Discontinuing other small Clean Energy Future business compensation measures including the Energy Efficiency Information Grants, the Clean Energy Skills package, and the Clean Technology Focus for Supply Chain programs;

  • Discontinuing carbon price compensation measures for electricity generators ($0.5 billion);
  • Discontinuing various land sector initiatives  as well as climate policy agencies such as the Climate Change Authority ($0.4 billion); and
  • Redirection of funding from the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program (saving $0.3 billion);