The Victorian government has withdrawn legislation to wind up the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target, with Environment Victoria labelling the back down an “embarrassing defeat”.

“The Premier’s action is clearly designed to park an unpopular decision that puts polluters interests ahead of the public interest until after the state election,” Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham said.

“The Coalition’s failure to scrap the scheme in parliament this week means that the target will be maintained at 5.4 million tonnes of emissions reductions for 2015.”

The Red Tape Reduction Bill would have set the 2015 target at two million tonnes, which Energy Minister Russell Northe said would work to wind back the scheme “in an orderly manner”.

Mr Wakeham said if the current government were re-elected, they would scrap the scheme, leading to the loss of 2000 jobs.

“The one thing we know for certain now is that if the Coalition is re-elected, 2000 workers who have been working to weatherproof our homes and businesses, install solar hot water and efficient lighting and manufacture energy saving products will be out of a job in 2015.”

Mr Wakeham said one of the Coalition’s key reason to scrap the scheme was that it affected the profitability of Victoria’s existing electricity generators and retailers.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Coalition is acting to protect vested interests with a polluting business model instead of the public interest,” he said.

“Now that we know Coalition’s intentions to destroy the energy efficiency industry it is critical that the ALP and other parties outline their specific policies for energy saving programs, including VEET, if they are elected.”

See our articles: