The ClimateSmart Home Service set up by Queensland’s former Labor state government has become the first casualty in the recently elected conservative Liberal National Party (LNP) government’s war on renewable energy schemes.
The day after the LNP leader Campbell Newman was sworn in as Queensland premier, he announced former Premier Anna Bligh’s husband Greg Withers would be asked to stay on as a government bureaucrat to dismantle the carbon reduction programs he implemented.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell last night said the ClimateSmart Home Service would cease taking bookings from midnight (AEST).
More than 335,000 households have received the service since January 2009, but Mr Powell said ongoing demand had substantially declined in recent times.
“With fewer customers signing up, delivery of the service was becoming more and more expensive,” he said in a statement.
He said the ClimateSmart Home Service, which is part of one of the eight programs, was always due to finish at the end of the year.
“By closing the program seven months early, we will save taxpayers up to $5 million.”
“Mr Newman has thrown about 150 hardworking electricians and staff on the scrap heap,” she said in a statement.
“He has axed a program that can save families up to $480 a year on their power bills.”
She said Newman supported the program while he was Brisbane’s lord mayor.
Mr Powell denied public servants would lose their jobs.
They would instead be re-deployed into other areas of government, he said.
Mr Newman has scrapped luxuries like taxpayer-funded corporate boxes at Queensland’s major sporting events.
He argued slashing the Premier’s Literary Awards would save $245,000 a year.
And on Sunday the state government announced it would immediately stop producing “Smart State” vehicle numberplates, saving more than $15,000 a year.
However, he defended his government’s plan to spend $1 million over three years to send 50 high school students to Anzac Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey.