small business | August 19, 2019

Solar Home Program a total disaster

Lowan residents have been forced to engage in a scrum like contest to obtain approval for a solar rebate under the Andrews Labor Government’s Solar Panel Rebate Scheme.

The Solar Victoria website was reopened to rebate applications on 1 August with all the 3,333 rebates available snapped up in just 90 minutes.

The National Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has received a string of complaints from householders and solar installation businesses about the scheme.

“Locals have told me that they have spent hours completing the Solar Rebate application online and proving their financial eligibility, only to have their application immediately rejected because the monthly allocation has been fully exhausted,” Ms Kealy said.

“I have also been told it is not an easy website to navigate and is not user friendly, requiring the use of a facial recognition app – so too bad if you don’t have a smart phone.

“It would appear that to have any chance of being approved for a rebate you need to take the morning off work, make sure you have a good computer with a fast internet connection, be IT savvy and able to work at a fast pace.

“You also need to be able to navigate multiple processes like uploading identification and supporting documents.

“It is a disgrace that Lowan residents are being disadvantaged if they are not familiar with these processes.

“I have also been contacted by several local solar installers whose businesses and employees are facing an uncertain future due to Labor’s flawed roll out of the rebate scheme.”

The Liberal Nationals attempted in Parliament last week to establish an inquiry into Labor’s botches solar rebate scheme but Labor MPs combined with three crossbench MPs to vote down the inquiry.

Industry groups also continue to call for immediate changes, reporting solar businesses are deeply concerned about the future of their industry, business, their employees and their families.

“This scheme has degenerated into an ugly contest that will play out all over again at 9:00am on 1 September when the next release of rebates will be available, with the ‘winners’ likely be those with superior computer skills,” Ms Kealy said.

“Labor must acknowledge that they have got it wrong and act immediately to simplify the process to reduce the strain on applicants and prevent further business closures and job losses.”

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