15/02/2012 - 10:32

Watch the waste from Gillard’s green bank

15/02/2012 - 10:32


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Never one to leave his audience wondering, Mark Latham has some harsh words for Gillard-led Labor.

Never one to leave his audience wondering, Mark Latham has some harsh words for Gillard-led Labor.

MARK Latham’s iconoclastic pronouncements, especially when focusing upon Labor Party affairs, are fearlessly stated and invariably thought provoking.

Mr Latham, who now draws a handsome lifelong parliamentary pension, is beholden to no-one, something that further fortifies his new career as columnist and commentator.

For that reason let’s consider his recent charge of massive waste initiated by his Labor successors, most especially by his onetime ally, Julia Gillard.

It’s still not widely realised that when Prime Minister Gillard so joyfully announced her Greens-inspired plan to tax CO2, she also cleared the way for what’s being dubbed as the ‘green bank’, ‘Julia’s bank’, or the ‘Gillard bank’.

This commits $10 billion of taxpayers’ money to bankroll, in one way or another, what the Gillard-Greens fraternity now controlling Australia love to call clean-green renewable energy, which is nothing more than exorbitantly subsidised and unnecessarily costly electricity.

Little wonder her spin-doctors named this taxpayer-bankrolled entity the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

They will surely not welcome what Mr Latham has said about this coming financial vehicle.

Here are some of his remarks.

He firstly, and wisely, warned that the coming CEFC will result in “the greatest waste of money in the history of the Commonwealth”.

That was followed by the claim the CO2 tax Ms Gillard instituted with help from the Greens, Andrew Wilkie, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, “was more about income redistribution than legislating a significant environmental measure”.

That’s another way of saying it’s all about robbing Pete to pay Pavel, rather than being designed to slash electricity usage, which is what the Greens originally set out to do but conveniently forgot this somewhere along the way.

Both remarks are damning and haven’t been contradicted by anyone within Gillard-led Labor ranks.

How could they be when the Gillard-Greens CO2 tax simply redirects earnings of middle and higher income earners to those in lower brackets.

Those considered lower income earners will be ‘compensated’ by manipulating tax and other schedules under this big-spending format; so the looming increases in electricity charges won’t change usage behaviours of a huge slice of the population since there’s no incentive to reduce electricity consumption, which was what CO2 taxing was intended to ensure.

So forget all those years of talk about slashing CO2 emissions. It won’t be happening. 

This whole exercise, as Mr Latham highlights, was thus never designed for so-called environmental gain but to instead ensure middle and higher income earners get a hair-cut – have their incomes further cut.

The $10 billion CEFC, according to Mr Latham, is “the forgotten element” of this deeply flawed CO2 taxing crusade.

“It’ll end up, I think, being the greatest waste of money in the history of the Commonwealth,” he continued.

“It will make the Building the Education Revolution and pink batts programs look like a Sunday picnic.”

Creation of the CEFC was a key Greens demand in exchange for backing Ms Gillard’s wish to slug Australian businesses $23 a tonne of CO2 to be paid by 500 so-called ‘big polluters’. This is despite CO2 not being a pollutant but an essential beneficial plant nutrient.

And after one year an emissions trading scheme (ETS) will be operational, after which time banks and brokers will reap huge ongoing profits by fleecing taxpayers.

Incidentally, the now-bankrupt American conglomerate, Enron, first promoted an ETS so it and other traders could enrich themselves.

Those 500 companies – including all of Australia’s coal-fired power stations – will, of course, pass on this tax to industry and consumers.

If that isn’t done they’ll go belly-up.

Former Reserve Bank board member, Jillian Broadbent, was named to head the panel that will advise government on how the $10 billion will be spent.

Mr Latham further claimed creation of this Gillard/Greens Bank was premature since industry isn’t ready for such high level of government-backed spending.

“This is the biggest industry slush fund in the history of the nation,” he said.

“How can you spend $10 billion on industry development when most experts say that the technology, the so-called clean-energy technologies, aren’t there to absorb that money in any productive fashion?”

If correct, and I believe he is, it’s a case of a $10 billion cart coming before the horse, with the bank waiting around for various high energy costs schemes to be brought to it by ambitious boffins.

Quite frankly I expect virtually the entire $10 billion will be wasted.

By that I mean a day will come when the Australian National Audit Office is summoned – either by a future Labor or Abbott-led coalition government – to investigate and assess outcomes, meaning costs versus benefits, of that expended $10 billion.

And the results will show it was one huge wasteful exercise, which as Mr Latham so presciently states, turned out to have been “the greatest waste of money in the history of the Commonwealth”. 

Consider two overseas cases – one in the US, the other in Spain – where ignorant politicians were similarly fixated with so-called renewable energy.

Firstly there’s the Obama administration’s Solyndra scandal.

In 2009 the now-collapsed solar panel maker, Solyndra Corporation, somehow managed to coax a $US535 million loan guarantee from the White House.

Then, in September 2011 Solyndra went belly-up, leaving taxpayers to carry its debts.

The FBI is now investigating the Solyndra deal and is looking at the role of the US Department of Energy and the White House in approving this loan.

Among other things it has been revealed several Solyndra shareholders made sizeable donations to the Obama re-election campaign with big sums also spent on lobbying, including meetings with White House officials.

A second worrying case involves the destructive outcomes of Spain’s moves down the so-called renewable energy path.

Spain, with unemployment in the 22-25 per cent range, cannot afford to kill jobs. But that’s precisely what Madrid’s mad rush into renewable energy is doing.

One expert investigation, ‘Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources’, concluded wind and solar farms were “terribly economically counter productive”.

That report added: “The study’s results demonstrate how such ‘green jobs’ policy clearly hinders Spain’s way out of the current economic crisis.”

Crucially, it found that for every renewable energy job the Spanish government bankrolled, one could: “expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about nine jobs lost for every four created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidised investments with the same resources would have created.”

Yes, some so-called green jobs emerged, but “at great financial cost as well as cost in terms of jobs destroyed elsewhere in the economy”.

So, apart from the burden of outlaying $10 billion taxpayers’ dollars, the Gillard-Greens bank is embarking upon Spanish-style job killing.

And it’s Sydney-to-a-brick we’ll see well-healed lobbyists aplenty reaping handsome commissions in the coming mix, who’ll have devised all sorts of pie-in-the-sky claims and predictions about an unneeded and never-achieved clean greenish utopia.

Hopefully the Federal Police will never need to be called in to investigate any Canberra green subsidy scams.


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