Page 4569 - Week 12 - Thursday, 15 October 2009

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Members would be aware that the government has announced and sought funding and received approval from the Assembly for $19.1 million of funding for rebates and grants to assist Canberrans to improve water and energy efficiency, and indeed management of waste, in their own homes. This has been labelled the switch your thinking initiative, and it will provide a one-stop shop of information and advice to Canberrans, as well as rebates.

The initiative will now be rolled out as the ACT smart program. ACT smart identifies the programs as ACT based, creates a call to action and provides an overarching brand connection to existing programs such as garden smart, toilet smart and ACT energy wise. The change of name of the initiative is the result of feedback on the switch your thinking branding which has been undertaken through focus groups convened by my department.

During 2009-10, ACT smart will provide a range of improved services to the ACT community through new assistance packages and rebates and expansion of existing programs. These will include a new home water audit program, incorporating water-efficient dual-flush toilets, shower heads and tap flow regulators, a new residential energy efficiency program that, while providing rebates on energy-efficient appliances, domestic insulation and an improved solar hot-water rebate, will also continue to provide the ACT energy wise HEAT and WEST programs. Tender negotiations for the delivery of these programs are currently in progress.

Also included are assistance packages for renters and low-income households that provide rebates for household energy saving additions and for energy-efficient domestic whitegoods; waste minimisation programs to assist offices and businesses to improve their business-based recycling; a web-based portal that will provide a one-stop shop to all rebates and assistance packages available through the new department, and will also link to assistance packages and services available through other ACT government departments; a small business package to help small businesses develop water management plans; and the continuation of current programs, including the garden smart service and rebate, the irrigation smart program pilot and the sustainable schools audit programs.

Work is already well advanced on the delivery of these programs. A request for proposal for the new home water audit program closed on 17 September and proposals are currently being evaluated. We have 72 individual sites already signed up for the office smart or business smart waste programs, with multiple sites within Westfield Belconnen and Woden also being assessed at this time. We also have the first stage of the new web-based portal. This is nearing completion, and I anticipate its launch within the next one to two weeks.

We are also finalising the design of the new solar hot-water system rebate, and that will be announced before the end of this year. Work is progressing on the development of a number of other programs within the initiative and they will also be progressively rolled out over the next three to six months.

Work is well advanced. I anticipate the formal launch of the new website within the next one to two weeks, and that will provide for Canberrans all the detail on the

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