Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2573 ..
do not serve the same purpose. A premium double-glazed unit has thermally broken window frames; there are gas-filled glass panels that are done in a vacuum. They are obviously your premium model and so will have a really high level of energy efficiency compared to, say, two panes of glass that are just wrapped together and put in a window frame, which do not serve as good a purpose. It is a very difficult area for a consumer, particularly, to navigate.
Ms Orr’s motion makes a number of statements which are hard to disagree with, as they are largely based on fact, around the benefits an energy-efficient home provides. It does touch on some of the issues but it also makes mention of, at 1(f), the government’s commitment to undertake a review of the energy efficiency scheme and assess the feasibility of improving energy efficiency standards for rental properties.
It is worth noting that the regulatory impact statement that was committed to in the parliamentary agreement was due to have been completed by the end of 2017. While there has been mention of that in this debate, it leaves many members of the opposition to conclude that that is not being delivered on time. It is another broken promise by the Labor government. I am amazed that the Greens are not slightly more outraged by it, but they are, after all, partners in crime. It would be of significant concern to the opposition to see a minimum energy efficiency standard applied to rental properties and to try to dramatically increase the bar of the energy efficiency rating for new homes.
The biggest issue that we discuss in this place is housing affordability and ensuring that people can afford quality housing to live in. We have a growing homeless population in this town. Moves to mandate a minimum energy rating on rental properties will, I fear, dramatically decrease the pool of properties available for rent, reducing supply and increasing the price that people are forced to pay. So any move in this space must be made extremely cautiously—likewise for new homes. Land is the biggest underlying cost of a new home and the biggest contributor to cost growth in new homes over the last decade in this jurisdiction, adding a further pressure. By seeking to irrationally increase energy efficiency standards we would seek to price even more Canberrans or prospective Canberrans out of our local housing market. It should not be entertained if that is to be the case.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (5.42): I am pleased to stand in support of Ms Orr’s motion today. The ACT government is proudly progressive, and we continue to look at ways that we can take responsible steps to manage climate change and to reduce greenhouse emissions throughout the territory. As Ms Orr’s motion notes, we are leading the charge as the only jurisdiction with a compulsory home energy efficiency rating disclosure scheme. We have set a world-leading reduction target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest, and we need to continue to look towards how we can best support all Canberrans to move towards smarter and more energy efficient housing solutions.
Many Murrumbidgee residents recognise the importance of protecting our environment and making our homes as energy efficient as possible. Murrumbidgee is indeed home to many of these very efficient homes. I recently spoke at Weston Creek Community Council with residents who have been building very energy efficient