Australian Government’s Green Loans: Significant Failings


Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, has somewhat vindicated previous Environment Minister Peter Garret’s performance after receiving the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report into the controversial Green Loans program.
The program previously offered interest free/low interest loans to Australian households for installing energy efficiency measures, such as solar energy systems. In February this year, the Australian Government announced sweeping changes to the program, dropping the loans element altogether.
“The ANAO report has reinforced the significant problems experienced in the management and administration of the Green Loans program,” said Mr. Combet.
Mr Combet also noted that in relation to the former Minister for Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, the ANAO Report found the Minister received incomplete, inaccurate and untimely briefings on program design features and implementation progress, challenges and risks and that Mr. Garrett ” was not served well by his Department in this respect….due to the poor quality briefings he received.”
The program was transferred from the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in February, but following continuing problems the Government decided to phase out the program on 8 July 2010. 
“Given the serious nature of the report’s findings I am asking Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Efficiency, to assume responsibility for overseeing all existing and future energy efficiency programs to ensure we prevent any future failings”, Mr Combet said.  
While interest-free government loans are no longer available; national solar power solutions provider Energy Matters maintains a list of Australian financial institutions now offering low interest green loans for solar power.