Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos may review pledge to scrap Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Source: TheAge

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The Coalition’s pre-election promise to scrap the Clean Energy Finance Corporation may be reviewed because of the fund’s apparent success.

A senior Coalition minister has indicated he will reconsider the government’s decision to scrap Labor’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, given its apparent financial success.

While he was reluctant to break a Coalition election promise, Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos told ABC radio on Thursday he was ”happy to go through the CEFC’s annual report and have another look”.

Senator Arthur Sinodinos says the ”challenge” for the Coalition is that it went to the election with a promise to abolish the carbon tax and its associated infrastructure.

CEFC chair Jillian Broadbent has been urging the Abbott government to reconsider its promise to axe the organisation given its success in raising money for clean energy programs without cost to taxpayers.

The corporation writes business cases for new clean energy projects, offers security for private investors and exploits the government’s ability to borrow money at lower rates.

Joining with the CEFC lowers the risk for private investors and encourages them to back emerging technologies.
So far, the CEFC has been financially successful, attracting $2.90 for every $1 it has invested.

Investment in 39 projects to date will lead to 3.88 million tonnes of carbon emissions abatement each year.
These investments turn a profit for taxpayers of about $2.40 per tonne.
After it was put to him that it made no sense to scrap the CEFC, Senator Sinodinos said the ”challenge” for the Coalition was that it had gone to the election with a promise to abolish the carbon tax and the infrastructure surrounding it.

”If this was commercially viable, well, it wouldn’t need the government,” Senator Sinodinos added.

”Co-financiers see the government as standing behind all these projects then essentially they’re getting up simply because the government can borrow more cheaply.”

Senator Sinodinos was asked why it was a bad thing for the government to use its ”might” to unleash more investment in clean energy.

He said if the government backed clean energy investments, business people might think the government ”could do this across the board and just support all borrowing or all lending by the private sector”.

Ms Broadbent said Australians wanted to see ”good policy and continuity of policy”.

”Promises can be too much of a simplification,” Ms Broadbent told ABC radio on Thursday.

”A promise to abandon a fund when it hadn’t really been operating and hadn’t really demonstrated its effectiveness should be reassessed.”

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