Labor is 'mean' says MP

THE Rudd Government was being mean and tricky by cutting the pensions of people who receive a payment for selling solar produced power back to the grid according to Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.

The cut in payments was clarified this week by Federal Minister for Community Services Jenny Macklin.

“The Rudd Government has confirmed excess power which is sold back to the grid, in return for a State Government gross feed in tariff, will have that payment counted as income for social security purposes,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“This will apply if the payment is made in cash, by cheque or a direct deposit.

“This decision is all the more ridiculous because the payment won’t be considered as income if it is credited to an electricity account.

“So solar power households will be able to build up huge credits with Country Energy but they won’t be able to access these funds without it potentially reducing their pension.”

Mr Hartsuyker said the Australian Taxation Office refuses to confirm whether this income will also be taxable and his own office has repeatedly questioned the ATO but it wouldn’t provide a definitive answer.

“There are thousands of people who have invested heavily in solar panels and many have borrowed from the bank in order to install the infrastructure,” he said.

“They have done the right thing by the environment in the belief that by generating more power than they use, they would receive a return on their investment. That in turn would help pay back their loan.

“This is a mean and tricky move by a Government that has recklessly wasted billions of dollars on pink batts and school buildings.”



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