The proposed Sustainable Cities Investment Fund, unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on June 20, would take up to $100 million a year from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to stimulate private sector investment in renewable energy and clean technology in Australia's major cities.
But industry groups say it means nearly one-third of the supposedly independent CEFC's budget has been corralled by the government for “pet projects” announced during the lead up to the election campaign.
The Australian Solar Council described the policy as an “attack” on existing renewables funding and a continuation of the Coalition's track record of “contempt” for renewable energy.
ASC chief John Grimes said: “The Turnbull government is again showing its utter hypocrisy by raiding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for its latest election stunt.
“This government has twice tried to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. It's tried to axe the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), it's taken the axe to the Renewable Energy Target and now it plans to slash $1.3 billion from ARENA.
“Today's announcement is not new money. It is simply using the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as its slush fund.
“For the first time in the Australian Solar Council's 50-year history, we are calling on voters to put the Liberal Party last.”
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition has also criticised the new policy, describing it as “rebranding,” used to cover up a lack of ambition on global warming.
AYCC national director Kirsty Albion said: “This is the third time the Prime Minister has re-announced clean energy money that has existed since 2013 and the Coalition spent most of their time in government trying to cut.