Wind farm money re-jigged
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has given the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) a mandate that allows it to invest in wind projects.
But he denies that there was ever a ban on public investment in windmills.
The Abbott government directed the corporation to stop investing in wind farms in mid-2014.
Under a new mandate signed by Mr Hunt and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on December 3, the $10 billion fund will be able to put money into wind projects, but only if they incorporate “emerging and innovative” methods.
Mr Hunt says there has been “perfect consistency” in policy.
He said that there was never a prohibition on wind investment, and that the new measures simply encourage a focus on emerging technologies.
“The very agreement that we struck, and on which I was deeply engaged with the Senate, now forms the basis of the arrangements and the mandate to the CEFC, so for me, there's a perfect consistency,” he told the ABC.
Mr Hunt said there was “deep policy consistency” between former prime minister Tony Abbott and his successor Malcolm Turnbull, despite differences in approaching environmental issues.
The CEFC is using the mandate already, announcing $67 million in financing for Australia's third-largest wind farm at Ararat in western Victoria.
The move was welcomed by Victorian Environment Minister Lisa Neville.
“It's been a very rocky 18 months for the industry and investment which has caused a lot of losses of jobs across Australia so this is a positive step forward,” Ms Neville said.