Driving a pandemic recovery that addresses household energy challenges 19 June 2020
An alliance of Victoria’s leading environment, social, community and consumer groups have today called on the Andrews government to ensure the state’s coronavirus pandemic recovery offers immediate support on energy bills to disadvantaged people and improves household energy performance.
The One Million Homes Alliance have released a statement putting forward recommendations that would bring relief to those experiencing health and financial hardship worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, while a step-change in household energy efficiency could curtail unnecessary greenhouse emissions, create thousands of local jobs across the state, and would help keep Victorians safer and more comfortable in their homes during extreme weather.
The Alliance is concerned that an estimated 2,600 Australians die each year due to the impacts of cold weather, magnified by the poor quality of many homes. Many of these deaths are avoidable. Research also shows that, if the energy star rating of existing homes was increased to 5.4 stars, heat-related deaths could be reduced by 90 percent.
Key recommendations of the statement include:
• Immediate support for low-income and vulnerable households including paying out all unresolved Relief Grant applications and increasing concessions and to the United Relief Grant payments scheme.
• Fully-funded household retrofit packages for low-income homeowners, social housing homes, and low-income rental properties.
• Subsidies for low-income households to replace inefficient appliances or purchase new energy efficient appliances.
• Disclosure of energy efficiency ratings for new and existing homes when they are advertised for sale.
• Re-visiting the energy standards established by the now-delayed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act.
“By investing in energy efficiency, we can build back better,” said Dr Nicholas Aberle, Campaign Manager for Environment Victoria.
For more details - see the One Million Homes Alliance statement here.
QUOTES FROM ALLIANCE MEMBER SPOKES:
Conny Lenneberg, Executive Director of Brotherhood of St Laurence, said: “Many people we work with are facing a cruel choice this winter – high energy bills they will struggle to pay or a very cold home. Targeted support for energy efficiency upgrades will enable some of the most disadvantaged households to stay warm in their homes, create jobs and aid our economic recovery.”
Dr Nicholas Aberle, Campaigns Manager of Environment Victoria, said: “Federal government spending to keep housing construction going is important, but if that spending isn’t targeted at ensuring homes have lower energy needs and lower running costs, then it is missing a massive opportunity to create a win-win-win situation.”
Luke Menzel, CEO of the Energy Efficiency Council, said: “Upgrading the energy efficiency of Australian homes and businesses would create 120,000 jobs, helping the Australian economy bounce back and making our homes safer and businesses more productive.”
Rob Law, Executive Officer, Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, said: "Targeting public money towards improving the energy performance of existing homes ticks all the boxes. It’s a statewide issue that would boost jobs and support economic recovery, help households reduce energy bills and emissions, and improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians."
Alison Rowe, CEO of Australian Energy Foundation, said: “It’s essential that we support all communities to build back better and not just rely on those that can afford to do so on their own. Free energy advice for all Australians, home energy efficiency upgrades and bill relief will ensure those facing energy insecurity are supported along the way back to a new normal.”
The statement is endorsed by:
Australian Energy Foundation, Better Renting, Brotherhood of St Laurence,Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, Consumer Action Law Centre, Energy Efficiency Council, Environment Victoria, Financial Counselling Victoria, Goulburn Broken Greenhouse Alliance, Jesuit Social Services, Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Renew, Victorian Council of Social Service, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Tenants Victoria, Uniting Care, Yarra Energy Foundation