Advanced Biofuels Investment Readiness Grants

The ABIR Program is a competitive one-stage, merit-based program offering grant funding to selected projects undertaking activities that build the investment case for significant and scalable pre-commercial demonstration projects for the production of high energy, drop-in advanced biofuels in Australia.

Projects under the ABIR Program may include, but are not limited to, pre-feasibility, feasibility and front-end engineering design studies or extensions to the operational demonstration of pilot-scale facilities with a clear pathway to commercialisation.

The $15 million ABIR Program is funded by the Australian Government and administered by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism until 1 July 2012, when responsibility for the program will transfer to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The ABIR Program closes at 5:00pm, 30 April 2012 AEST.

Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme Closing

The Government has announced that on 30 June 2012, the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme will close.  The Government has paid over $320 million under the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme to help more than 250,000 Australian households replace older, more carbon polluting hot water systems with renewable, climate-friendly alternatives.

To be eligible for the rebate before the scheme closes, systems must be installed, ordered (and a deposit paid) or purchased on or before 28 February 2012.

Applications lodged up to 30 June 2012 will continue to be processed. Applications received after 30 June 2012 will not be eligible.

The Government is continuing to support households to install climate-friendly hot water systems through the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme. Under this scheme, solar and heat pump hot water systems are assigned a number of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and retailers usually offer an upfront discount on systems in exchange for the STCs. For information on REBS visit:  www.climatechange.gov.au/solarhotwater.

For information on the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme visit: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/ret.

Innovation Investment Fund To Get $100 Million

Up to $100 million will be invested in new, innovative companies as part of the Australian Government’s Innovation Investment Fund (IIF).   The final tranche of IIF Round three of $100 million will lead to $200 million of venture capital for early-stage investments which reduces the financial risk to larger venture capital funds with the capacity to make significant longer-term investments. Applications from venture capital fund managers experienced in developing high-growth Australian companies to become globally competitive enterprises are being sought.

Applications for IIF tranche four close on Monday 2 July 2012. Details on information seminars for applicants are available at www.ausindustry.gov.au/IIF

 

Jobs And Competitiveness Program

The $9.2 billion Jobs and Competitiveness Program legislative was passed by the Senate today and is designed to assist industries like aluminium, steel, cement, lead and zinc, glass making, LNG and paper manufacturing. This Program focuses on emissions intensive and trade exposed activities which release high levels of carbon pollution but have difficulty passing on costs because their prices are set in global markets.

In addition, the $1.2 billion Clean Technology Program is also available to assist manufacturers which do not meet “emissions intensity, trade exposed” assistance thresholds.

The Clean Technology Program comprises:

$800 million under the Clean Technology Investment Program for grants supporting investments in energy-efficient equipment and low-pollution technologies, processes and products.

$200 million under the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program for energy efficiency improvements by food processors, metal forgers and foundries.

$200 million under the Clean Technology Innovation Program for business R&D spending in renewable energy, low-pollution technology and energy efficiency.

 

Illawarra Region Innovation & Investment Fund R1

The first round of the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund (IRIIF) is now open to applications. The closing date for Round 1 applications is Friday, 16th December 2011 at 5pm AEDST.  For more details or support, please contact the Pattens grants team.

Australian Innovation Challenge

The Australian Innovation Challenge opened today offering $70,000 in prizes for Australia’s best creativity and ingenuity from inventors which will be showcased across the country. Australians are considered creative and resilient people who are able to compete with the best and brightest in the world, even during the most difficult of times. Our capacity to negotiate our way through the biggest economic and social upheaval we have seen in more than 50 years lies in our ability to innovate.  Australia has less than half a per cent of the world’s population, but we produce more than three per cent of its new research.

The creativity and resilience of our people will help us confront the challenges that face our rapidly changing world, as we move towards a cleaner and greener future. The innovators who rise to The Australian Innovation Challenge will help ensure that Australia is able to compete in the global market place. With Australian skills and ideas, we will thrive as a nation.

The Government’s planned R&D Tax Credit will also provide an estimated $1.8 billion of help for businesses in every sector of the Australian economy to help them invest in research and development. The Australian Government, through the Innovation Australia Board, also offers assistance through the Commercialisation Australia and venture capital programs to assist companies to develop and market their products and services.

For more information on the range of assistance measures available contact Pattens on 1800 PATTENS

Households Will Feel Impact of Carbon Tax

The Government has advised that on Sunday 10 July 2011 they will announce the price on pollution that is the central element of their policy to tackle climate change, cut pollution and drive the transformation of the Australian economy to a clean energy future.    The Government’s priorities in designing the carbon price have been stated as cutting pollution, protecting household budgets, and supporting jobs, but you can form your own opinion.  Around half the revenue raised will be used to offset the impact to the community.  A carbon price is seen as an important reform that will create incentives to lower Australia’s carbon pollution at the lowest cost to the economy. They suggest it will do this by putting a price tag on the pollution of fewer than 1,000 businesses.

With only half the revenue raised to be used for tax cuts and increased payments to households, the cost to the Australian household will be significant.  Originally the government committed that all revenue raised would be applied to offset the impact to the community.  This has progressively fallen to the current offering of 50%.  The final figure will probably be much less than 50% and progressively phased out.

After announcing the policy on Sunday the Government intends to introduce legislation to Parliament later this year.

$226 Billion At Risk

A report released today by the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, identifies more than $226 billion of assets in coastal areas nationally that are potentially at risk from climate change. The report, Climate Change Risks to Coastal Settlements and Industry, identifies significant risks to commercial and light industrial infrastructure, and road and rail systems in Australia’s coastal areas based on a sea level rise of 1.1 metres representing a high-end scenario for 2100.

Coastal assets at risk from the combined impact of inundation and erosion include between 5,800 and 8,600 commercial buildings, between 3,700 and 6,200 light industrial buildings and between 27,000 and 35,000 kilometres of roads and rail.  The report shows exposure of coastal assets to sea level rise is widespread and will likely increase into the future. The new report adds to the Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts report, released in 2009, which identified risks to residential properties and natural ecosystems, beaches and landscapes. The new analysis supplements that work by assessing the vulnerability of commercial property, such as shopping centres and office buildings, light industrial property and road and rail infrastructure and by updating the earlier assessment of residential properties.

We can reduce our vulnerability to impacts we can’t avoid by using the best available science to plan timely and cost-effective adaptation measures.  Adaptation measures will vary depending on location and circumstance, but could include changes to planning regimes and buildings codes in urban environments.

The Government suggests the introduction of a Carbon Tax (to reduce carbon pollution) will avert the Climate Change Risk.  Surely that is too little too late, but its another argument to justify introducing a carbon tax that could generate $226 billion for the government, none of which is likely to be spent on protecting Australia’s coastal assets.

The report is available on www.climatechange.gov.au

Carbon Price Household Assistance

The Government hosted a meeting today of the Household Assistance Working Group. The working group of community sector leaders discussed options for the design of the generous household assistance package that the Government will deliver together with a price on carbon pollution. The Government is consulting with community organisations to help ensure the household assistance package is fair and targeted at low and middle income households and pensioners. The members of the working group represent those Australians the Government will ensure receive the most generous assistance.

The Government has now taken a complete reversal stating that “more than 50 per cent of the revenue raised from a carbon price will be used to assist households, and that the assistance will be permanent.”  Previously the Government suggested that every dollar paid by companies will be used to help families with price impacts, to support jobs in the most affected industries, and to tackle climate change.  Refer our Blog of 15 March 2011 “Another Tax Called Carbon Pricing.”  What do you think the government’s final position will be?  Maybe we should start a competition to guess the final percentage assistance to households with a $1000 prize to the winner.

The Government is also working closely with other federal agencies, as well as State and Territory Governments to ensure this household assistance connects with and complements programs and activities already in place across the country.

The final household assistance package will be announced in advance of the planned implementation of a carbon price from 1 July 2012.

Small Business $5K Tax Write Off

The Australian Government will provide Australian small businesses with an immediate tax write-off of the first $5,000 of any motor vehicle purchased from 2012-13.  Motor vehicles are the main capital item for many of Australia’s 2.7 million small businesses so this extra tax relief could deliver real benefits by improving cash flows and helping operators to reinvest and grow their businesses.  The remainder of the purchase cost can be transferred into the general small business depreciation pool, which is depreciated at 15 per cent in the first year and 30 per cent in later years.

This measure will add to the existing tax reforms for small businesses that will be introduced in 2012-13 that allow:

  • an immediate write-off of all assets valued at under $5,000 (up from $1,000 presently) estimated to cost $1.7 billion over the forward estimates;
  • a write-off of all other assets (except buildings) in a single depreciation pool at a rate of 30 per cent.  Currently, small businesses allocate assets to two different depreciation pools, with two different depreciation rates (30 per cent and five per cent); and
  • a reduction in company tax rate to 29 per cent for incorporated small businesses.

These tax reforms will be available to all small businesses, including sole traders and businesses operating through trusts, partnerships and companies.  The new small business instant write-off for the first $5,000 of any motor vehicle will replace the Entrepreneurs Tax Offset (ETO), which the Australia’s Future Tax System Review (AFTS) recommended be abolished because of its poor targeting and high compliance costs.