Coalition urges Labor to defer clean energy spending
Coalition senators have called on the government to defer billions of dollars in spending on clean energy and transmission network upgrades.
The Albanese government has included in a broad-ranging piece of treasury legislation a number of changes to laws governing the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The report of a multi-party inquiry into the bill called for it to be passed.
But coalition senators said in the report the section relating to the CEFC should be taken out of the bill and put into separate legislation, with spending deferred to ensure it does not add to inflation.
The section allocates $11 billion to the CEFC as part of Labor's Rewiring the Nation plan to improve the transmission network, enabling more renewable energy to come online and drive down emissions.
As well, $500 million will be given to the CEFC to support the Powering Australia Technology Fund and $1 billion will go to the climate change department to fund projects not within the CEFC's investment criteria.
The law change would remove the need to amend the CEFC Act for any future funding increases to the CEFC from the government.
"Coalition senators have considerable concerns about ... (the section's) removal of the requirement for the government to legislate additional funding for the CEFC, instead allowing them to create additional accounts within the CEFC via general appropriation acts," the senators said.
"This would remove the oversight and parliamentary scrutiny of new CEFC funding.
"The amendment removes safeguards around allocating additional spending through the CEFC."
They said the "considerable amount of expenditure" was being proposed at a time when organisations such as the International Monetary Fund were warning of inflationary pressure from off-budget funding.
"The government must prioritise reducing inflationary pressures."
The government argues the funding is a significant step in its plan to cut Australia's emissions by 43 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.
It would go towards modernising the electricity grid, lowering the cost of power bills, managing the transition of the electricity system and increasing renewables in the grid.