Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1439 ..
We understand that the program is heavily oversubscribed in the ACT, with 90 per cent of applicants missing out every year. We would like to see the government consider extending that program to target more low income households in the ACT. Households that do have difficulty paying the energy bills, or who default on their payments, often seek assistance through ACAT. However, outreach programs could also assist those who do pay their bills, the sorts of people who would not consider defaulting on a bill but who will go without in other areas in order to ensure that they do meet that commitment and that obligation. Programs such as WEST, and the highly successful home energy advice team, the HEAT scheme, could be integrated into any retailer strategy, as the expertise of these services is invaluable.
We would also support specific targets within other energy efficiency programs, such as the suite of measures under ACTSmart or within the objectives of an energy retailer target, such as occurs in the UK retailer scheme where 40 per cent of the efficiency gains are required to be made with at-risk groups.
The Greens’ motion today calls on the government to put in place a range of measures that we think make a strong statement and a strong commitment to the people of Canberra who are in low income families and who must be a priority for us as we move forward on implementing clean energy policies. What our motion does is call on the government to implement a series of real and concrete steps which I believe will make a real difference for households in the ACT.
I understand there are going to be a number of amendments put forward today. I will speak to those as we come to each of them. I think it is important to note, though, that the measures we have put forward are real and concrete. They require specific actions. They seek specific outcomes. We do not want to end up with a series of fine words, future promises and a series of aspirational statements. We want to put in place concrete measures that deliver for the low income households in the ACT. We do need to move forward on climate policies.
We do need to move forward on shifting our energy market, shifting how we receive energy and what energy costs. These are necessary steps, but we also know there are vulnerable communities, and we must put them first in our thinking on this issue. That means taking steps now to effectively protect those most vulnerable families whilst enabling us to move forward as a community to cut our greenhouse emissions so that we can play our part in protecting this planet that we live on from the vagaries of climate change. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.45): I welcome the motion from Mr Rattenbury today and note that many of the measures he is advocating and, indeed, is supporting are measures that the government has already announced that it intends to pursue. In particular, I note his comments about the move for mandating energy efficiency in dwellings as part of carbon reduction schemes that may be required of industry, in particular electricity retailers. Indeed, he is echoing the comments on the future directions that I outlined in my statement to the Assembly last year. So I welcome his support for these measures.