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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 10 Hansard (19 September) . . Page.. 3668 ..

This bill, by its nature, by its purpose, by its very objective, is intended to increase energy bills in the ACT. It should be called the "Energy Efficiency (Increasing the Cost of Living) Amendment Bill". Instead, the government is going to try and use this as a way to dish out presents to certain households. In reality, it is going to increase the cost of living for all Canberrans. To that end, the opposition cannot support it.

MS ORR (Yerrabi—Minister for Community Services and Facilities, Minister for Disability, Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety and Minister for Government Services and Procurement) (3.44): I rise to speak in support of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Amendment Bill 2019 and highlight the positive impact it will have on our environment and the lives of Canberrans.

Improving the energy efficiency of Canberra homes and buildings is an important part of the ACT's transition to a cleaner economy and future. I have previously spoken in this place about improving energy efficiency in the ACT. I am pleased that this bill will respond to the calls I have made to ensure that the EEIS improves the lives of all Canberrans.

This bill will extend the operation of the energy efficiency improvement scheme until 2030, which will see additional annual energy efficiency compliance periods conducted across the city. By extending the operation of the EEIS, we can be confident that more Canberra homes will be able to reduce their energy usage and contribute to our efforts in reducing our impact on the environment.

In taking action on climate change and creating a more environmentally sustainable Canberra, we must ensure that the entire community is involved, not just those who can afford to act on their own. I strongly believe that as a government we must advocate for environmentalism for everyone. Through this bill, we are ensuring that low income households across the ACT will benefit from the energy efficiency improvement scheme.

We know that low income households are not easily able to make improvements to their own homes, and rising energy bills only make it harder to get by. By improving energy efficiency—whether it be draught-proofing, replacing old heating and cooling systems or upgrading existing appliances—the household budget will see both short-term and long-term benefits through the reduction of bills and maintenance costs.

This bill will increase the priority household target to 30 per cent, to ensure that households who need support to become more energy efficient receive the resources they need. These priority households will be supported in addition to the government's investment in improving the energy efficiency of the ACT's public housing stock.

The government's ACT housing strategy delivered by Minister Berry clearly outlines our commitment to providing equitable housing options for Canberrans. Objective 1F, which aims to encourage well-designed, environmentally sustainable and accessible housing, will particularly support this government's cost of living and energy efficiency improvements initiative.

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