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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2146 ..

home”. Minister, I understand families have already moved into some of the 20 dwellings provided under this program, but not all of the families can afford to pay the large energy bills coming in. What level of energy efficiency does Housing ACT require for dwellings purchased under this program and has this standard been met in purchased properties so far?

MS BURCH: I thank the member for her question. It is an opportunity to talk about “A place to call home”, which is a wonderful program that will bring 20 houses online. At the moment, the houses that are accommodating these families at risk are newly constructed houses and they all meet a six-star energy rating. Also, the families in these homes are under quite close care coordination by community providers. The minimum star rating of six is ahead of all requirements. The hot-water systems and appliances within those properties are indeed energy efficient. Where gas is not available, Housing ACT installs solar hot-water or a heat pump and provides low wattage thermostat controlled heating.

Low income households are also eligible for energy concessions. Between Housing ACT and their support provider, we can certainly provide that information so that assistance can be provided regarding their energy consumption costs.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, given that there are still some dwellings to be built under “A place to call home”, will you ensure that these dwellings have an appropriate energy rating?

MS BURCH: Absolutely. All houses constructed will meet a minimum six-star energy rating, which is in excess of the building code of Australia, which is currently at five. We will meet those ratings.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, a supplementary?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. My supplementary to the minister is: is the rebate concession for these tenants in “A place to call home” the only assistance that tenants receive to assist with such things as significant power bills—gas bills, electricity bills—and any other sort of ongoing housing costs that they might incur?

MS BURCH: Indeed, tenants under “A place to call home”, or any ACT housing tenant, can access a range, where they are eligible, across our concessions scheme. Also, I just remind those here that this government committed $20 million over 10 years for energy efficient measures across Housing ACT. So we are working systematically across our property portfolios and replacing inefficient portable wired heating where that needs to be replaced. We are insulating properties. We are putting in energy efficient hot-water systems, and the $20 million over 10 years will certainly go a long way to reduce energy costs. We are targeting energy and water costs for these families, recognising the strain they put on their disposable weekly budget.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Hunter?

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