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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2574 ..

homes that require very little energy to heat and cool. Some of those have been built in the wake of the Mr Fluffy demolition process, and they should be applauded for taking their innovative approach to a new build.

Recently, highly efficient homes have been showcased in the Australian government’s comprehensive YourHome guide to environmentally sustainable and energy efficient homes. The guide features a residence in Curtin which is commended as best practice sustainable design and is listed as a case study for the ACT. The Curtin home takes the best opportunities of our sometimes unlucky weather conditions through installing an energy efficient hydronic heating system and use of building materials with low embodied energy and low environmental impact. These changes, and more, saw the Curtin home transform from an energy efficiency rating of 2.5 to a highly commendable 7.5 stars on the nationwide house energy rating scheme.

While some of these examples are well documented, they are not necessarily well understood by the broader community and potential purchasers and tenants. While I am certain that most people would ideally like to make cutting-edge energy efficiency improvements to their own home, these large-scale improvements are often out of reach. There are an increasing range of more cost-effective measures that can be done to provide energy bill relief. Our government has implemented the energy efficiency improvement scheme, which has seen the installation of over one million energy efficient items in households and businesses. These improvements usually consist of much smaller changes than what we are talking about today.

We also need to continue to support and strengthen the government’s energy efficiency rating scheme to keep Canberra’s ambitious energy policy ahead of the curve. Ms Orr’s motion draws attention to the importance of continuing to improve our energy efficiency rating scheme and notes the significance of refining the scheme to better meet the needs of all Canberrans. Our rating scheme has the potential to reach out even further through the evaluation of the current scheme. There is an opportunity to re-centre and purposefully target more of our environmentally conscious population.

Our government is continually looking at ways to reduce cost of living pressures on those who are struggling. A further strengthened rating scheme would certainly take some of the financial pressures off renters by providing clear information regarding the energy efficiency of the home they intend to rent or are renting. Currently, when advertising to rent a dwelling, owners or investors must disclose the energy efficiency rating or risk a potential financial penalty of $1,250.

While this is really important, there is more that can be done to ensure that renters are making the best possible energy-informed decisions. Educating renters, especially young Canberrans and those entering the housing market, on what these ratings mean, both financially and environmentally, is important. When entering Canberra’s competitive rental market, energy efficiency ratings can be easily overlooked by both tenants and landlords in amongst the complex wave of information that must be learned and understood. As Ms Orr has suggested, the ACT government should consider actively reaching out to educate and better inform all renters on the importance of energy ratings for dwellings.

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