22 January 2021

ACT Budget to include $300 million for climate action

| Dominic Giannini
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Electric cars

Electric cars will have registration fees waived for two years under the new ACT Budget. Photo: File.

More than $300 million will be set aside to help the Territory transition to net-zero emissions in the upcoming ACT Budget, mostly funding election promises made by Labor and the Greens.

The money will be spent over the next five years with the $150 million sustainable household fund offering interest-free loans for investing in renewable electricity instalments and $100 million for a ‘Big Canberra Battery’ forming the centrepiece of the environment package.

The loans will offer ACT households up to $15,000 to minimise the upfront costs of buying rooftop solar panels, battery storage systems, and zero-emissions vehicles while the 250 MW large-scale battery will help distribute power across the city.

A further $50 million will be used to establish a vulnerable households energy fund to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of social and public housing, low-income owner-occupiers and low-performing rental properties.

There is also a $5 million allocation for community clubs to invest in energy-efficient upgrades like water and ventilation audits, new plans to make it mandatory for electricity retailers to provide customers with a reference bill for a typical consumer and tell them which plans could reduce their bills, and a two-year waiver of registration fees for new zero-emissions vehicles from May 2021.

“The ACT Government recognises that climate change poses a real and immediate threat to our city, our country and the world,” Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Change Andrew Barr said.

Andrew Barr

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said the ACT Budget would focus on addressing climate change. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

“At a time of climate crisis, we know that the decisions we make today will have significant consequences for future generations of Canberrans.

“The ACT Government has one of the most ambitious agendas for addressing climate change globally and is committed to showing other jurisdictions what is possible to achieve in a short period of time while supporting all Canberra households through the necessary transition.”

READ ALSO Powering up: ACT’s next big battery will be even bigger

Initial funding of $855,000 will be spent phasing out fossil fuels through the ACT’s sustainable energy policy and developing legislation to stop new gas mains being connected to future stages of greenfield residential developments.

A further $915,000 will be allocated to establish an Office of the Coordinator-General for Climate Action over the next two years.

The Coordinator-General will be tasked with overseeing major projects in Canberra and monitoring the government’s climate commitments.

Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said the budget committed Canberra to tackling the biggest pieces in our emissions puzzle by focusing on phasing out fossil fuel gas and transforming ACT transport to be zero emissions.

“Having declared a climate emergency, we’re doing what it takes to cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the ACT community to withstand the impacts of the climate change we’re already experiencing,” he said.

“The budget supports the ACT’s nation-leading effort to phase out of fossil fuel gas, in line with our commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.”

The ACT Budget will be delivered on 9 February.

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How long after this can we expect to see Actew raising its prices by 20% to compensate for the increased number of households running solar?
Or worse, those in rental situations will see increased rent as investers pass the ‘loan’ on to the people they rent to.

Leon Arundell5:21 pm 28 Jan 21

There is no plan to transition to net-zero emissions.
The plan is for net emissions to continue to increase until 2045, at which time they will plateau if net _annual_ emissions fall to zero.
Contrary to popular belief, Santa does not have a magic wand that, each Christmas, removes all of the previous year’s emissions from the atmosphere 🙁

It is a bit too little too late. We need to look at remediation now. I see on ABC news that heat waves bringing temperatures around 50C in suburbs of Adelaide can be tempered significantly by street trees.
The ACT government plants street trees but asks residents to care for the streetscape. Many people are busy and try to reduce their efforts by putting in rocks and wood chips and the like. I have seen people remove street to make room for car parking. All these actions are making heat conditions much worse.
The government could make a significant contribution to ameliorating the impact of climate change by taking over the management of the nature strips, in consultation with lease holders. If people don’t want to care for the nature strip, and I guess that is most people, then the areas could be managed like on freeways but with bigger shade trees. The government should pay for and manage irrigation of the area instead of the failed system currently adopted which is magnifying the impact of climate change.
Yes there are costs, but there are costs if the householder manages it only that doesn’t work.

russianafroman4:55 pm 22 Jan 21

A bit silly people can’t pay rent and bills. While yes we need to solve these issues, people need to be able to buy simple food and live in a simple house before we start talking about these things. 300 million would do very well for community in improving health and wellbeing. But they talk about electric cars. No one can afford them except rich people? Do I have 70 k for Tesla? No! So make rich people poorer and poor people richer. This is the solution they should do. But they do the opposite! Very bad news.

Don’t be too excited as this scheme has assessment limits don’t know why, as climate change is effecting everyone and everyone should be treated equally to qualify.

More wild spending of our money (or rather, borrowed money) by an administration that has its priorities well and truly wrong. With our health system, roads and other basic public services in disarray, the ACT Government should focus on serving the community rather than its crazy ideological crusade. And why should the rest of us subsidise the wealthy owners of electric vehicles by paying for their registration? They should pay for using the roads like the rest of us.

Capital Retro12:19 pm 22 Jan 21

What a dumb way to spend money we don’t have.

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