MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday 20 December, 2018
Energy Minister Angus Taylor is right to say we need better licencing and safeguards in the rooftop solar industry, but it’s federal regulators who have dropped the ball.
Since the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government came to power in 2013, the number of “unsafe or substandard” installations doubled, yet the federal Clean Energy Regulator (CER) has not suspended a single operator’s licence.
Electrical Trades Unions National Secretary Allen Hicks said two million homes across Australia have rooftop solar installed and the public should feel confident the work was done by licenced electrical workers with meaningful accreditations.
“Rooftop solar is just one of the booming sections in the renewable energy industry but the Morrison Government still refuses to accept reality and wants scare the public off this technology,” Mr Hicks said.
“Angus Taylor was right, for once, when he said we need better oversight and safety checks of these installations, but he failed to say it’s federal regulators that are failing in their duties.
“An average 5540 checks are carried out on households each year but there are 12,000 rooftop solar install each month. Clearly, there needs to be a massive increase in inspections.
“Each year the CER has provided the Federal Liberal Government with annual reports for the past five years, but nothing has been done to increase the frequency, scope or regulatory process in the sector.”
Mr Hicks said the Auditor General’s report raised questions about the Morrison Government’s preferred accreditation provider, the Clean Energy Council (CEC), as to how it is allowing so many poor and substandard operators to work on homes around the country.
“The CEC is taking its fees and practically rubberstamping licences for rooftop solar installers but barely enough CER inspections take place to ensure those accreditations are worth the paper they are printed on,” he said.
“Yet with one in four installs showing shoddy, substandard, or unsafe workmanship, it’s clear the accreditation process needs urgent review and proper oversight.
“Instead of having a mature conversation with the states, the federal government is engaging in a scare campaign in the hope of frightening the public away from rooftop solar and renewable energy, hoping Australians will go back to the Liberal-National Party’s preferred source of power: coal.
“Angus Taylor is like a wounded and cornered animal, lashing out in all directions as he tries desperately to deflect away from his government’s failings and total lack of a plan.”
Media enquiries: ETU National Communications Coordinator – Nicholas McCallum
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