$1.5b at risk as axe falls

MORE than $1.5 billion in regional investment and 300 jobs are at stake following the axing of funding to a solar project in south-west Queensland.

The Queensland Government terminated a $75 million funding deed to Solar Dawn, the potential home of one of the biggest solar power stations in the world.

Federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said the funding cut put hundreds of jobs in jeopardy.

"The Queensland Government is putting at jeopardy a project that represents $1.5 billion in economic investment to regional Queensland, 300 construction and local manufacturing jobs and a $68 million solar research and development program at the University of Queensland."

The Solar Dawn project was allocated $464 from the Federal Government but has confirmed it was not able to meet a June 30 financial milestone following the withdrawal of the State Government's support.

"I have, therefore, written to the Chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Mr Greg Bourne, referring the project to Australian Renewable Energy Agency for further consideration," Mr Ferguson said.

"The future of the Solar Dawn project will now be determined by the newly created independent Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which came into effect on 1 July 2012."

Solar Dawn project director Anthony Wiseman confirmed the project was not defeated and said he was determined to make it successful.

Mr Wiseman said the group would pursue discussions with the State Government.

"Solar Dawn is offering something incredibly promising - benefits previously not available within the Australian renewable energy industry. There are various options to move Solar Dawn forward and we are committed to making the project successful," Mr Wiseman said



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