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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 May 2018) . . Page.. 1717 ..

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (5.02): I rise today to speak in support of Ms Orr’s motion regarding energy efficiency improvements in the ACT to improve the sustainable of our city. The ACT government is focused on improving energy efficiency in the ACT, particularly for more vulnerable and low income households, to ensure that all Canberran citizens are supported to make their homes more efficient. This is part of our approach to make sure that the ACT is taking responsible steps to manage climate change and to sustain our environment.

Improving energy efficiency is part of the ACT’s climate strategy for net zero emissions under the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living Improvement) Act 2012. Reducing energy consumption reduces greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn supports the ACT government’s target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, based on 1990 levels. Energy efficiency is part of the responsible steps we are taking to manage the reduction in our emissions here to support the environment and also households to reduce their energy costs.

The ACT government’s major program in the area, as has been mentioned, is the energy efficiency improvement scheme. The scheme is a compulsory scheme for electrical retailers in the ACT. It is established under the energy efficiency improvement act. The scheme operates by placing a requirement on all electricity retailers to achieve energy savings in households and small to medium businesses.

The scheme reduces the energy use and costs of household and businesses, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and encourages the efficient use of energy. The scheme has already provided energy and cost savings to over 17,000 lower income priority households. It has installed over one million energy efficient items, with savings of around $5 a week for households.

Indeed, it has improved over 70,000 households and businesses in the ACT. The EEIS activities include sealing, exhaust fan sealing, and the installation of thermally efficient windows and glazing. Among these installations, the scheme has also delivered central space heaters, efficient heaters, and low energy lighting. I know that part of the scheme is now closed to some households. As Minister Rattenbury has mentioned, I look forward to the evolution of the scheme in the future.

The ACT government are also replacing ageing public housing stock with more efficient housing as part of our public housing renewal program. We are more than halfway through that program at the moment. It is a priority to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community have safe access to secure housing.

While electricity prices in the ACT remain the lowest in the country, prices in the national market have increased. We do have very cold winters. This was highlighted in a recent 2016 UnionsACT report which showed that the ACT is the most energy-intensive area in Australia.

The new public housing stock was designed to match the look and feel of surrounding suburbs, with greater energy efficiency providing lower costs and energy consumption for residents. This includes a minimum six-star energy rating and energy efficient

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