National Low Income Energy Productivity Program
A group of over 50 businesses, charities, local council, and community groups have come together to advocate to governments for a National Low Income Energy Productivity Program. The main aims of the proposal are:
-To lower power bills for low income earners (this will ease financial stress, ensuring that a comfortable healthy home is attainable for all, for instance keeping homes warm in winter will not be an expensive luxury foregone to afford food or schooling)
-To increase the number of homes that are energy efficient (this will lower carbon emissions and reduce the load on the grid)
-To create jobs & spending to stimulate the economy (through the increased need for training, auditing, installation, manufacture, local retail)
The program outlines four key areas for strategic action:
- Social Housing – the government to provide energy efficiency upgrades and solar PV for the 440,000 social housing dwellings in Australia, in addition to an additional 30,000 new social housing dwellings to be built. The cost for only the upgrades would be $1.676 billion spread out over a 4-5 year period.
- Low-income home owners – a joint initiative between governments and community organisations for energy efficiency audits, upgrades, and solar PV for those who qualify as low-income home owners. The cost for this would be $4.18 billion over 4-5 year period.
- Inefficient rental properties – there is currently a proposal in development for mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties. This is to be supported by the federal government providing grants to landlords to support the upgrade of poor energy performing rentals. This will include a free energy audit for all landlords, those properties found underperforming would eligible for a $5k grant, with stipulations in place ensuring that rent isn’t unfairly raised after these grant funded improvements are undertaken. This would cost $774 million over 4-5 year period.
- Low-income appliance replacement – government subsidies to replace energy inefficient appliances such as heating/cooling appliances, fridges, hot water systems, washing machines, dryers, and TVs.
The list of energy efficient upgrades identified in the proposal include the installation of reverse cycle air-conditioners, more efficient heat pumps for hot water, draught sealing, installing ceiling fans, solar PV, shade structures, and insulation.