16 November 2023

More than 5000 Canberra public homes to receive energy efficiency upgrades

| Lizzie Waymouth
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Public Housing Reid, Ainslie Ave.

Public homes in the ACT are among the most energy inefficient in Australia. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

More Canberrans will benefit from energy-efficient homes thanks to a multi-million federal and territory partnership to upgrade almost half of the ACT’s public housing.

The Albanese and ACT governments have announced that more than 5000 public homes across the capital will receive energy upgrades such as insulation and electric stoves, designed to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

According to the latest Productivity Commission data, there were 10,744 public homes in the ACT as of June 2022.

Canberra’s social housing properties are among the most energy inefficient in the country because most of the ACT’s social housing was built more than 20 years ago, before minimum build standards were put in place.

At the same time, social housing residents are among those who can least afford to take on rising energy costs.

The $35.2 million partnership forms part of the $1.7 billion Energy Savings Package, $300 million of which aims to help fund upgrades for 60,000 social housing properties across Australia.

The upgrades for electrification and energy efficiency will enable households to save on bills by significantly reducing their energy consumption each year.

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Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the program would continue to upgrade homes in line with the new minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties and support the ACT’s commitment to phase out fossil fuel gas by 2045.

“The program will instal insulation and swap out old gas appliances for energy-efficient electric alternatives, meaning the property can disconnect from gas. This will help residents to save on their energy bills and an all-electric household can save up to $300 each year on gas connection fees,” he said.

Acting ACT Chief Minister Yvette Berry said by the end of 2026, all public housing homes would meet minimum energy efficiency standards and include additional electrification upgrades to improve tenants’ living standards.

“The ACT Government has committed to easing the cost of living pressures for all Canberrans as we transition to net zero emissions by 2045,” Minister Berry said.

“We’re working with the Australian Government on this initiative that will help make homes more energy efficient while also easing the cost of living for those on lower incomes.

“We will need continued investment at all levels to move towards a future that is sustainable, efficient, and affordable for everyone.

“Public housing tenants deserve to live in homes that are comfortable and affordable to run all year round.”

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Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the announcement came on top of the Albanese Government’s Energy Price Relief Plan, which was helping about 57,000 ACT residents save an average of $327 on their energy bills.

“We’re delighted to invest with the ACT in critical energy upgrades that will help deliver more affordable power bills to over 5000 social housing properties,” he said.

“Energy upgrades and electrification can help tenants save money on energy bills and keep homes warm in Canberra winters,” Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister said.

“Most Australian homes were built before energy efficiency standards. We want to see a renovation revolution to make sure Australians have cheaper and more comfortable homes, all while lowering emissions.”

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devils_advocate2:58 pm 20 Nov 23

What about the people on the waiting list who have no home at all?

Shouldn’t they get some kind of home before we start funding upgrades?

Only half the identified homes are to be rectified. Who determines which are the winners and are they based upon the electorates in the ACT that need an increase in the votes to bolster particular candidates in the next election.

What’s in it for homeowners other than higher taxes?

Daniel Berry10:11 am 20 Nov 23

That’s like saying why should my taxes go to schools if I don’t have any kids.

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