Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3174..
I think what is very important and what the government is concerned about on this matter is the equity impacts on some households if there is a mandatory obligation to replace old electric resistance hot-water systems with gas or solar systems, particularly in parts of the city where gas is not available and where there could be a significant cost to households of having gas reticulated to allow them to upgrade. Those are the issues that we are concerned about and which we are working actively on at this time.
MS LE COUTEUR: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Le Couteur.
MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, given that the government has recognised the economic and environmental advantages of improved hot-water services by including them as allowable items under the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Bill 2012, why does the government continue to allow Canberra people to waste their money on installing inefficient replacement hot-water services?
MR SPEAKER: Order, members!
Mr Coe interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe!
MR CORBELL: I draw Ms Le Couteur's attention to my previous answer. It is all well and good for someone to plan the replacement of a hot-water system, say, as part of a renovation or other planned work in their home. They can take into account the potential costs of different options and they can plan for its replacement. But what we also know is that sometimes your hot-water system just fails, and you do not have time to plan for a replacement, especially in the middle of winter. You have to get it fixed that day. You need hot water that day or that night. And if you are going to do that, you cannot impose unreasonable requirements on households, particularly households in areas where gas, for example, is not reticulated either in that suburban area—which actually involves quite a sizeable number of homes in the ACT—or gas is not connected to the house, even though it is reticulated to the street.
That brings significant additional costs to households, and in an emergency where a hot-water system fails and must be replaced, if the mandatory obligations Ms Le Couteur is arguing for were in place, it would impose significant hardship on some households, and we must have regard to this factor. So whilst we do not disagree that gas-boosted solar, for example, or even high-efficiency gas, is a more efficient option, it must be implemented in a practical manner. And those are the issues that we are focusing on at this time.
Mr Coe interjecting—