Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Solar Scam Burns Through Budget

Properly managed, the sun’s awesome power can be converted into useful energy. Potentially, solar power will one day deliver a significant contribution to Australia’s baseload power requirements.

Poorly managed, solar power burns. And not just delicate human skin, carelessly exposed to an excessive amount of the sun’s rays.

As NSW taxpayers have discovered in recent years, thanks to the previous Labor government’s ill-handling of the solar power rebate scheme, solar power can also burn through massive amounts of taxpayers’ money.

We’ve already paid a huge toll for that scheme in inflated power bills that needed to be blown out to cover the scheme’s ongoing cost.

Lamentably, although the Labor government is gone, the penalties for its solar bungling keep rolling in.

Now The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the state’s finances are actually in worse shape than anybody anticipated - and it’s all down to that accursed Solar Bonus Scheme.

What a cruelly named scheme it turned out to be.

Bonuses there were, of course, but only to those who found themselves sufficiently cashed up to buy into the scheme in the first place.

The rest of us subsidised it. More accurately, it was a Solar Scam Scheme.

The end result for NSW is that the $4.5 billion budget black hole revealed one week into Barry O’Farrell’s premiership is in fact a $5.2 billion budget black hole. The solar scheme adds another $750 million in debt.

O’Farrell’s Government has pledged to keep searching through the state’s finances to uncover similar examples of hidden deficits and graver economic problems.

At this point we’d almost prefer that the Government didn’t. If Labor can turn a simple solar power plan into a budget-busting debt-maker, imagine what terrors lurk in other, more serious aspects of our state finances.

Claims don’t add up

A SUBSTANTIAL number of Australians remain unconvinced by federal Labor’s latest moves to crack down on asylum seekers who exploit or otherwise undermine this country’s generosity.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced this week that asylum seekers who are charged and convicted following any damage to state property would fail character tests and endanger their refugee claims. The Daily Telegraph supports this new stance.

Yet public doubt is understandable, particularly following news that while 10,243 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia since 2008 - itself a condemnation of Labor’s asylum seeker policies - only 15 have been deported against their will.

This means that fewer than 0.15 per cent of asylum seekers are presently failing residence tests. It doesn’t add up.

SOURCE: http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/solar-scam-burns-through-budget/

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