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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2570 ..

acknowledging one of the challenges. This is something I have thought about at some length. If requirements are too onerous, landlords may withdraw some rental properties from the market, which would be counterproductive.

Depending on the design of the home, it can be hard to put in the kinds of improvements that are built into new homes to get them to a high star rating. It may not be possible to insulate walls in existing units which are common walls with neighbouring units. If you are in a body corporate, you may well be in the situation where is impossible to change window orientation, and the cost of doing double glazing and possibly curtains to ameliorate the situation of a unit with a lot of poorly orientated windows is quite possibly not in any way financially feasible.

One option for this is to look at the minimum standard for rental properties possibly not ending up being a numeric rating like the other two EER elements. Possibly instead it could be a quick checklist of things that landlords must do, such as providing some sort of efficient space heating, coupled with draught proofing, and a minimum level of insulation which is appropriate to the building construction that you already have.

These are issues that will be looked at, I trust, with the regulatory impact statement into setting minimum EER standards for rental properties. It is something that really needs to be done. We talked this morning about affordable rentals. One of the issues of making an affordable rental is to have a rental property that is affordable to heat and cool. This is something that the Greens have been banging on about for a long time. Hopefully when the parliamentary agreement items are finalised we will be able to stop banging on about them and actually have some action.

I am expecting that, whatever proposal comes out of the regulatory impact statement, there will be extensive consultation so that the right balance is struck between what is achievable, quality of life for renters in older homes and ensuring that there are still affordable, rent-wise, houses in the ACT. Maybe I should not say that, because there are very few of them. Members know what I am trying to say.

The second point I want to make is about the minimum standards for new builds. These are based on a cost-benefit analysis. The other way of looking at it is a payback period. For example, if the extra cost of lifting standards by one star is, say, $5,000 per new home, how many years would it take for the new owner to make that back in lower energy bills? A lot has happened since we last looked at upgrading to six-star energy ratings. That was part of our agreement with the Labor Party in the Seventh Assembly. That is why I remember it. The ACT was ahead of other jurisdictions in going to six stars, but we are still on six stars. Since we moved to six stars, at least two things have happened.

Firstly, energy costs have gone up a lot because of the problems with the national gas and electricity markets. We can talk at length as to why those are, but that is slightly not relevant to this. Unfortunately, energy costs have gone up significantly. Secondly, interest rates are a lot lower, which means that both of these changes are likely to support a positive cost-benefit for a higher standard of construction.

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