Joe Hockey’s federal budget has been met with outrage by the renewable energy industry with the announcement that the government plans to cut a further 1.3 billion dollars of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is an institution that finds new green technologies and attempts to increase their production and incorporation into the Australian market, they also aid in funding Australian solar technology research.
ARENA is expected to continue operating with funds of 1 billion dollars for existing research and development projects, but will only be allocated 15 million dollars per year over the next two years for new projects. Funding for multiple smaller renewable energy programs was also reduced or cut completely in the federal budget.
John Grimes, the chief executive of the Australian Solar Council has accused the federal government of breaking multiple promises made to the solar industry, stating they have broken their word on the Renewable Energy Target, their promise to maintain funding for ARENA, and their commitment to another million solar panel roof installations by 2020. He has also criticised the federal budget for its inevitable residual effects, meaning solar research, development and employment are all at risk.
Many within the renewable energy industry are expressing their frustration that such significant cuts are being made to the sector, while the federal budget maintains funding for subsidies in mining and non-renewable energy industries.
Hockey’s federal budget has also announced cuts to leading scientific organisations, dental healthcare, education, law enforcement, foreign aid, welfare, as well as outlining a new $7 Medicare levy when visiting general practitioners.