Page 2257 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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We are going to reach out and work with those households, and work through a range of community organisations that work day to day with people who are suffering disadvantage. Again, St Vincent de Paul, Northside Community Service, Belconnen Community Service, Communities@Work and the Salvation Army will be engaged so that we are able to properly identify those households who are struggling and provide them with the assistance they need.

The type of things that we will be doing will, we estimate, achieve a saving of approximately $147 each year in energy costs for those households. When you think about that in the context of the recently announced increase in the average electricity bill—which was approximately $80, which was announced on Monday—this program will deliver a saving that entirely offsets that electricity increase for those low income households. And that is without taking into account the significant increase in the concession payments regime the government are putting in place, again to assist low income households.

This is the direction and this is the focus of the Labor government—helping those disadvantaged households, helping them make ends meet.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Do programs like ToiletSmart, which are energy-efficient programs, have a dedicated phone line? Are they able to respond to all calls that they receive? Have any complaints been received about calls not responded to?

MR CORBELL: The ToiletSmart program is being added to the outreach program that I was referring to in my previous answer. ToiletSmart and the water efficiency measures that come with that, such as retrofitting of toilets to low-flush, dual-flush toilets, are part of the program.

In relation to the telephone inquiry service, yes, I understand there is a telephone inquiry service. No, I am not aware of any complaints in relation to that service. But if Ms Bresnan has any concerns, I would welcome further information from her.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, a supplementary?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can the minister tell the Assembly why these sorts of programs will become more important as we deal with climate change?

MR CORBELL: Energy efficiency will be a key element of the government’s response to greenhouse gas reduction targets and a key element of achieving the emission reductions we need to help achieve those targets. The use of energy efficiency is highly cost effective. Because of the particular distribution of energy use in the ACT, where the major use is energy used in stationary buildings for heating, for cooling, for lighting, for the powering of appliances—over 60 per cent of all energy consumption in the territory is in the built sector—it is vitally important that we focus on energy efficiency.

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