22 October 2009 – Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s office defended the interest-free green home loan program after the Senate Estimates hearings on Tuesday night found only a small fraction of loans had been approved.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said scheme could not handle the demand and was headed for collapse, along with other over-subscribed green initiatives.

The scheme makes up to $10,000 available to householders interest free, to improve the environmental performance of their homes. To register householders need to contact 1800 895 076.

According to the Senate Estimates the scheme had processed only 58 loans so far. It aimed to provide 75,000 loans over four years and 20,000 loans this financial year. However only 44,000 households had registered for the home energy audits, with 27,044 assessments completed.

Ms Milne said the scheme was “headed for the same fate as the rooftop solar rebate, solar schools program and other green initiatives that have been unceremoniously dumped when they became too successful.”

But a spokesman for Mr Garrett said there were currently 12,000 households who had the option to apply for finance.

“As at 16 October 2009, 44,173  households  have  registered for a home sustainability assessment; 27,044 assessments have been completed and more assessments are being undertaken as the program is rolled out,” the spokesman said.

“The Government does not process loans. Once households receive an assessment report, they are able to approach one of the participating financial institutions and apply for a Green Loan for eligible items identified in the assessment report.

“Householders must meet the lending requirements of the financial institutions before a Green Loan will be issued. There are currently 12,000 households who have this option, with more every week. Recent advice from financial partners indicates as at 16 October, there were approximately 317 applications under consideration for Green Loans.”