Page 2403 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 17 June 2009

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Unfortunately, given Mr Barr’s letter, I am not even sure if the ACT is going to be supporting the COAG approach.

I have seen the draft regulations that the Australian Building Codes Board recently put out for comment, and my bill is very similar. The more technical aspects of my bill, such as performance standards and the exceptions to the standards, are amenable to finetuning, if the government feels this is needed. Of course I am happy to discuss this. If a national standard is, in fact, ready for implementation by mid-2011, I will be delighted to stand here and vote to repeal the relevant parts of my legislation so that the ACT can transition to a national building code standard. That, of course, will only affect new buildings.

The re-introduced version of my hot-water bill also has some new aspects. Much of it relates to the feedback and consultation that we have undertaken over the past few months. The bill was in the media; we spoke to people in the hot water and energy efficiency industries as well as quite a few individual Canberra residents who have contacted us. Remember as well that the initiatives in this bill have been slowly crawling to fruition over a number of years at a national level. Similar standards already exist in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

One interesting comment that I received from the ACT Master Plumbers Association was that it had been well known for a long time that Australia is moving towards new hot-water heater requirements. I have received similar comments from other people in the industry. This is not surprising as COAG has been talking to the industry about energy efficiency measures for years, and nearly half of Australia’s states already have these measures for new hot-water services.

Rather than repeat my last introduction speech, I will just briefly outline the new aspects of this bill. Firstly, my bill complements the hot-water system and energy standard by introducing a water flow rate standard. Under the water flow rate standard, any time a hot-water system is replaced, under the legislation water-efficient shower heads will also need to be installed. This obviously is good from a water point of view, but it is also very good from a financial point of view. You have already got the plumber in your house; you may as well get him to fix up your shower heads as well.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world, yet Australians are one of the highest consumers of water per person. The ACT is under stage 3 water restrictions, and there is no likelihood this is going to improve any time soon. It has been estimated that about 30 per cent of domestic water used indoors is consumed in the shower, and a water-saving shower head alone can save 60 litres of water a day. It has also been estimated that the electricity used for heating this water accounts for almost 20 per cent of the electricity consumed in a typical household. Water efficient shower heads will therefore not only cut down water consumption but also contribute to lower water and energy bills. The water efficient shower heads themselves are pretty cheap—they range from $10 to $30.

Secondly, the bill adds a new exemption to the hot-water efficiency standard. If a person’s hot-water system fails while under warranty, a like-for-like replacement is permitted, even if the replacement heater would not meet the performance

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