Freeze on AusIndustry clean energy grant programs

The government appears to have "paused" its $1.2b Clean Technology Program grants only months after the program commenced.

Quite astounding news today is that the Federal Government’s Commercialisation Australia scheme has confirmed that “no new grants are being written”, with the government apparently diving headlong into a budget clampdown (they refer to it as a “pause”) across a range of industry sectors.

Importantly for the solar sector,  the $1 billion Clean Technology Investment Fund , run by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet’s ministry is one of the halted programs.

The across-the-board clamp on an estimated $2 billion a year in federal grants was confirmed in the Australian a few weeks ago, but is now starting to hit real projects with at least one solar installer calling us today after being told by AUSIndustry that “the project grant application that you have in with us is on hold until advised otherwise.”

Many solar installer’s have been taking advantage of the fund and targetting specific sectors of the business community; helping them to reduce emissions, energy cost exposure and business costs, by installing solar systems and other energy savings measures.

“The halting of this scheme is a real blow to those companies who have invested in understanding the requirements and the processes involved.” said one NSW based installer today.” We’ve spent hard earned time and money educating businesses, conducting audits and quoting systems; we thought the Government might have finally stopped switching programs on and off like a switch – but apparently not”

A number of commentators are making the same point it seems; business people understand that budgets have to be managed – and balanced – but timing is everything in business. This type of knee jerk, spontaneous reaction is just plain damaging to business and investment confidence.

Nigel Morris is the Director of Solar Business Services.

This article was originally published by SolarBusinessServices. Republished with permission.

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