Labour's energy proposals 'a gimmick' - minister
The four energy proposals announced by the Labour leader this morning were nothing but a gimmick as they had already been announced in the last budget or were being implemented, Resources Minister George Pullicino said this afternoon.
Mr Pullicino said that Labour leader Joseph Muscat should at least have had the decency to say that he agreed with the measures the government announced in the last budget and not make these measures his own, especially after voting against them.
The minister said that 67,000 square metres of public space had already been given to private companies for photovoltaic panels and the government was currently in the process of giving another 40,000 square metres.
A total of 6,000 families had installed PV panels and others took advantage of other schemes related to energy. In all, there were 15,000 families who benefitted. Three per cent of residential homes had PV panels and 270 businesses were given €16 million worth of assistance to invest in solar energy.
Mr Pullicino said that the rehabilitation Maghtab and Qortin into parks for solar farms was in the pipeline. The government was in favour of this concept but space in Malta was extremely limited.
As for helping families who did not have access to roofs invest in solar energy through public spaces, Mr Pullicino said this promise had already been announced by the government, which was investing another €19 million to help families invest in PV panels. As the price of PV panels had gone down, more families would benefit.
Mr Pullicino noted that energy audits had already started in Gozo and there already was a commitment to extend this to Malta. Audits on public places in Malta were already being held.
As for the water saving kit initiative, this was copy and paste of an initiative that was already taking place in Gozo and which the government had said was to be extended to the whole of Malta.
The minister said that the government had helped families buy 45,000 energy efficient appliances.