Page 964 - Week 03 - Thursday, 3 April 2008

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Public housing—energy efficiency

Paper and statement by minister

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Housing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Energy efficiency in public housing—Ministerial statement, 3 April 2008.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I wish to speak in the Assembly today about energy efficiency in public housing. As members will be aware, there are approximately 11,500 dwellings in the ACT that provide accommodation for public housing tenants. Of these, about 6,500 are stand-alone dwellings, with the rest being located in multiple-unit properties ranging from townhouses to flats.

Public housing in the ACT is on average the oldest stock of any other state or territory and it is regrettable that the majority of these properties are not as energy efficient as we would like them to be. This impacts on meeting the challenge of climate change. It also affects those people that live in public housing properties—people who are among the most disadvantaged in our community—as a more energy efficient house is much cheaper to run. Housing ACT has been working to improve the energy efficiency of its dwellings for some time. Ceiling insulation has been installed in all stand-alone homes and improvements are made to dwellings as part of the maintenance program.

The government has helped and continues to help Housing ACT make its properties more energy efficient. In last year’s budget, the government significantly increased the contribution to public housing with $20 million being allocated for energy efficiency improvements to public housing properties over a period of 10 years. This is a major part of our overall commitment of $100 million from weathering the change, the government’s strategy on climate change.

This builds on the earlier work done by Housing ACT to spend $1 million in the 2005-06 budget for water and energy-saving initiatives. This resulted in more efficient hot water systems and space heaters being installed, in addition to innovations such as energy-saving light bulbs and solar hot water services. Information on changes that could be made which would make a big difference to energy bills and improve energy efficiency was also given to public housing tenants last year. This was aimed at improving the way people “operated” the house, with the aim of reducing the use of energy and water.

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