Further support for flood levy package welcomed
FRI 18 FEBRUARY 2011
Prime Minister Julia Gillard today welcomed announcements from the Australian Greens and from Independent Andrew Wilkie, the Member for Denison that they would be voting for the Government’s legislation on the flood levy.
The levy will go towards a multi-billion package to rebuild bridges, roads, rail lines and schools that have been damaged by the recent natural disasters.
Following discussions with the Greens, the Government has agreed to return the previously announced saving of $60m to the Solar Flagships program over the period to 30 June 2015.
The Government has also agreed to re-phase $40 million into the period to 30 June 2015 that was previously allocated to the period beyond 30 June 2015.
The Solar Flagships program is part of the Australian Government’s $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative to support the development of commercial solar technologies.
The timing of actual expenditure will be determined by project requirements following the outcome of the merit based competitive selection process.
The Government expects to announce the outcome of Round 1 of the Solar Flagships program in mid-2011.
The Government has agreed to continue to engage with solar industry stakeholders as the design of Round 2 of the program is developed.
Following discussions with Mr Wilkie, the Government will continue to support the promotion of excellence in university teaching through the provision of $50 million in project and award funding over the forward estimates.
Funding for the grants and awards that were previously provided by ALTC will be administered by DEEWR from 1 January 2012.
The Greens also raised the issue of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) with the Government.
In response, the Government confirmed that the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) will not lapse in 2014-15. The scheme is being capped at 35,000 homes in the years up to 2014-15, consistent with current industry tracking.
Over a longer timeframe, the scheme will continue to operate to deliver at least the 50,000 homes provisioned for under the original program.
The net impact of these negotiations on the budget is $150 million, made up of $100 million for the Solar Flagships Program and $50 million for teaching and learning grants.
This will be offset in the upcoming Federal Budget in May.