The NSW Coalition’s last-minute privatized loan scheme to install solar cells and batteries on homes poses risks of injury and death because of the lack of training and standards in the construction industry, according to secret budget documents obtained by the Greens.
The Empowering Homes Program, which has stripped funds from the now abandoned Smart Energy scheme, was first announced in February and funded in the March budget, before it was ever submitted to treasury for analysis. The scheme provides loans for households to purchase solar-battery and battery systems.
According to the secret budget documents obtained by Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge, the risk to health and safety is due to “an unprepared workforce, poor training, poor auditing” and the “scheme could lead to injury/death/reputational damage”.
The secret 26 June internal analysis shows the scheme is not only a risk to health and safety due to poor construction standards, but may also be “enticing medium to low income families into a loan they may not be able to pay back.”
Greens MP David Shoebridge said:
“This is the only program this government has proposed for renewable energy, and it turns out that it’s policy on the run with real risks and minimal benefits.
“This is privatising action on climate change, pouring millions into the private market while building standards are in crisis.
“The government’s plan is for private installers and private finance companies to deliver the loans, with all the risks from debt traps and safety that this brings.
“Why haven’t the NSW Liberals learned the lessons on the pink batts scheme that saw the same unthinking rush with private installers and policy on the run?
“Letting private industry write the rules has given us buildings that crack and flammable cladding, it makes no sense to give them millions of public money to roll out anything.
“Proper investment in publicly owned renewable energy would create thousands of good steady jobs.
“Instead from the NSW Liberals we get dodgy and dangerous harebrained schemes that put workers at risk and households in debt,” said Mr Shoebridge.