The Australian reported last Friday that the Ballina-based company Permo-drive, which is developing a hybrid drive system for trucks, may be going into voluntary liquidation leaving 1,900 shareholders in the lurch.
The company had apparently placed considerable reliance on receiving up to $5 million in a grant from government and blames the Rudd Government for its current financial woes.
This put me in mind of the Aquanator, another NSW North Coast 'green' venture developed by Atlantis Energy Ltd based in the Clarence Valley at Maclean.
This company received considerable assistance from the then Howard Government by way of tax deferral, but quickly fell off the local radar thereafter.
It was also given support by prominent North Coast Nationals.
The technology is now formally owned by the Singapore-based Atlantis Resources Corporation, which does not indicate that this particular form of wave energy technology has been commercially established anywhere.
However the Victorian Government has allowed a 5-year longer term trial of the Aquanator which started in March 2008.
Coincidentally, the Aquanator was also a project of Permo-drive inventor, Matthew Perry, who had a very different view in 2004.
Then he was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald; "Mr Perry's first job as an auto-electrician led to his first successful invention in 1998, a device known as the Permo-Drive, which can cut fuel consumption by up to 40 per cent by capturing and storing energy normally wasted in the hydraulic braking systems of heavy trucks.
The system is manufactured under licence in the United States, has been adopted by the US Army for its huge fleet of heavy trucks, and is at present being tested by the US Postal Service."
Although it's unfortunate that Kevin Rudd has so easily abandoned alternative energy development as a genuine national priority, the situation for local entrepreneurs is a lot more complex than simply one of the level of government support.
I think that Federal Labor MP for Page, Janelle Saffin is right - you can't blame the government for these problems.