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Outback Solar Power Subsidy Cuts Slammed


by Energy Matters

Outback solar power rebate criticism
A wound has been reopened for the Australian Govenment after pastoralists and indigenous communities criticised the Government's dropping of an important solar rebates program for rural areas some months ago.
The ABC's 7.30 Report highlighted the plight of Australians in outback areas who are unable to afford off grid solar power systems since the axing of the Renewable Remote Power Generation Program (RRPGP) in June. 
The RRPGP was initiated by the Coalition when it was in power and provided funding of up to 50% of the cost of off grid systems, to a maximum value of $200,000. While rural Australians away from mains grid power are covered under the new Solar Credits program; that scheme has a maximum benefit of $7,500.
After the Solar Credits program legislation finally passed last month; Penny Wong, Minister Climate Change and Water, said that further consideration would be given to the situation in rural areas, but since that time nothing further has eventuated.
The 7.30 Report segment stated that the lack of suitable incentive was affecting aboriginal communities and pastoral operations; impacting on regional development across the board and forcing rural people to continue to rely on other forms of power generation such as diesel generators.
After the report aired last night, a statement from Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water was released; part of which said, "I challenge Senator Wong to share these real-life stories about how the Rudd Government is making it hard for outback Australians to go solar and forcing them back to using dirty diesel, as she’s jet-setting over on the other side of the world to discuss her version of action on climate change."


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