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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 4341..


Housing—public

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the minister for housing and is in regard to hot-water system replacement in Housing ACT properties. Why is the government installing heat pumps over solar hot-water heaters when we know that solar hot-water heaters are both quieter and cheaper to run?

MR HARGREAVES: Housing ACT installs a variety of heaters, hot-water systems, within its establishments and it depends on the replacement whether or not we are replacing like for like or whether we are actually going to another model.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question?

MS LE COUTEUR: What is the government's commitment to helping tenants to reduce their electricity costs in terms of hot water?

MR HARGREAVES: The government have quite a series of energy efficiency initiatives throughout our public housing stock and an additional education program for our own tenants to get them—for example, plug up draughts and that sort of thing. We also have curtains and more insulation going in. It depends on the actual building itself—whether we are renovating and replacing and then taking things from sometimes a two-star rating to a 41/2-star rating. It really depends on the premises.

It has been a commitment of the government for the five years that I have been in the portfolio to have a more energy-efficient housing stock. We would actually achieve two things. The first, of course, would be that we would have a completely reduced energy footprint, and the second would be the burden of cost. The building's inefficiency is carried by the tenants and we do not want that to continue any longer than we need to. We recognise that our public housing tenants are usually on particularly low incomes and every bit of help counts.

If Ms Le Couteur would like a briefing on the extent to which those energy efficiency initiatives have been introduced and will be introduced we are happy to arrange it. It is quite an extensive list. It is such an extensive list that we are happy to arrange a briefing for Ms Le Couteur—or indeed Mr Coe, if he feels he would like that briefing.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Ms Bresnan?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. How does the government decide whether to install a solar heat pump or a gas hot-water service, and what proportion of each are currently being installed?

MR HARGREAVES: I will have to take the second part of that question on notice. I do not have those proportions in my mind at the moment. I am happy to do that for Ms Bresnan.

Essentially, we need to appreciate that the housing stock that we possess within the territory at the moment is the oldest stock in the country, and quite a lot of the appliances within those dwellings come to the end of their useful life. Once they


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