Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1622 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
I commend Mrs Dunne for moving this motion. It is all very well for people in the work force to benefit from schemes, but it is crucially important for a government, where it can, to extend those schemes to those who need them most.
My understanding is that solar hot water systems would probably be cheaper for ACT Housing. They benefit tenants, but because they are more modern there is less maintenance cost. I could be corrected, but I recall some blurb indicating that they are pretty efficient systems. There might well be ultimate savings for Housing as well.
This is a very good motion, worthy of support. If the government adopts it and goes down this track, many tenants in our city will save probably tens of dollars, hopefully hundreds of dollars, a year. That makes a huge difference if you are on a pension.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (12.20): I rise to give the accountant's view. I advise my colleague Mr Wood that should he adopt this motion we would be better served if the solar hot water systems were boosted off-peak. If I say this a number of times in this place, it may get through. Off-peak in itself is almost worthless in practical terms in saving energy, unless it is used for peak management. It might be worth something to the individual, but in terms of its environmental impact its value is diminished considerably.
While I am on my feet I might be able to reconcile something for Ms Dundas. She is a little confused as to Mrs Dunne's image projection. Let me remind the new Green how the votes fell in Ginninderra and how close in the last couple of elections the Greens went to winning a seat and how close the Liberals went to winning only one seat. Mrs Dunne, it is not easy being green. Nevertheless, I wish you well with it.
MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (12.23): As I reflect on the measures the government has taken towards reducing greenhouse gases, there is one measure that slipped past Mrs Dunne's mind. It is pretty much the same sort of principle. That is the measure to subsidise wall insulation. That is open to anybody in the community. I was reflecting on where money for some of these things comes from. That program was the result of Commonwealth funding. It was an initiative to combat greenhouse gases. It was considered a very innovative program by those who award these grants. We have a program under way, well supported by applicants, to subsidise the installation of wall insulation. Members will recall, as I do now, that the additional appropriation bill provided the funding for the solar hot water systems.
I use this opportunity to reiterate the government's view that we accept this motion in principle. We will be supporting it with that in mind.
MR SMYTH (12.24): I had great hopes that the new minister for housing would take his responsibility seriously in helping ACT residents cope and helping to lift some of the burdens off ACT Housing residents, but perhaps my faith in Mr Wood was misplaced.
When I was housing minister, we started a program that seriously looked at relieving the cost burden of heating homes and maintaining homes for ACT Housing resident. We tuned up the hot water systems, and sealed cracks and air leaks that caused the heating to