Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2576 ..
ACT’s. The first one was in 2004. Although the scheme had been running for five years at that time, the ACT’s legislation was referred to as a pilot, a test scheme, before introducing it elsewhere. Apparently, even now, some people still call it a pilot.
The ACT’s energy efficiency disclosure scheme is not a pilot; it is a legislated scheme for the benefit of people looking to live in the territory. The main objective of the scheme is to provide information to help people make informed decisions, and it does achieve this. Independent studies from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the University of Melbourne show that the energy rating can influence decisions at sale and lease. The studies show that if two properties otherwise have the same features, the one with the higher energy rating is likely to get a higher price.
That does not mean that all properties with higher ratings will have higher prices or will be more attractive to buyers and renters than all properties with lower ratings. There are other factors that renters and purchasers take into account when making their decisions. But studies show that for many people the energy rating is a consideration in what they purchase or rent and how much they pay for it. So it is important that we make sure people get the best information to make their decisions and that the scheme remains useful into the future.
The reason the studies I mentioned were possible is because of the length of time the scheme has been running, with minimal change. It has allowed the territory to be a unique case study for research. However, the government is reviewing the scheme so that it will continue to provide the best information possible to support prospective buyers and renters.
Some things in the scheme will need to change. The software we have used since the beginning of the scheme is not going to be technically viable into the future. It has limitations that we cannot reasonably overcome. I know some people listening will be astounded that anyone could be using technology from about a decade ago, but the simple fact is that it has been effective and very useful. But we do need to evolve the system to meet new community expectations. We are taking the opportunity to look at the scheme afresh and make some changes where we need to.
The review is one of the priority policy projects for building system projects that we are undertaking, along with building regulatory reforms. Ms Orr’s motion lists a number of areas that the review should investigate. In addition to these, the review will include assessing the scheme against its original objectives and in the current policy landscape. It will also cover the legislative, administrative and technical components of the scheme.
There are a few things I would like to clarify about the current scheme and the review. The first is how the scheme applies to rental properties. I know there are concerns that people are not disclosing ratings for rental properties when they should. While it is true that a lot of homes have been rated at one point or another, it is not the case that just because a property had a rating five years ago it must be disclosed. The rating must also be current, valid and complete. This is to prevent misleading ratings from being disclosed. Because things in and around the building do change over time, ratings have to be up to date for the scheme to provide useful comparisons.