Posted on 21. Nov, 2010 in Election Media Release, Greening Victoria

Premier John Brumby today announced that a future Labor Government will provide $15 million to low income families to help them gain access to solar hot water technology to become more energy efficient and reduce the cost of energy bills.

Mr Brumby and Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings visited solar company Nu Energy in Carrum Downs and said the fund would allow at least 5000 additional Victorian families to do their bit to help tackle climate change.

“Climate change is a challenge facing all Victorians and we want to help as many people as we can take action to reduce their carbon emissions as well as their utilities bills,” Mr Brumby said.

“We understand that many Victorians want to take action on climate change but that sometimes upgrading to the latest efficient technology can have significant up-front costs and so be out of reach for families with low incomes.

“This $15 million fund, which will be administered by Sustainability Victoria, will help at least 5000 Victorian households on low-incomes or in social housing to access solar hot water technology and become more energy efficient.

Sustainability Victoria will work with a range of environment groups, such as Environment Victoria and the Moreland Energy Foundation, as well as social welfare groups like the Brotherhood of St. Lawrence to ensure that the neediest Victorians get access to solar hot water technology.

These groups have considerable experience in working with vulnerable communities to deliver sustainability programs, and their expertise will help ensure that this new program is a success.

“As a result this program will not only benefit the environment but will also reduce household bills, while creating jobs for companies which will build the systems and tradespeople who install them.”

“This will drastically reduce energy bills by up to 75 per cent and result in savings of between $200-$400 per year for an average household.

Mr Jennings said the Brumby Labor Government was leading Australia in setting a target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 per cent by 2020 and that helping low income earners gain access to energy efficient appliances was a major step in that process.

“We have also committed to improving the energy efficiency of Victoria’s existing housing stock to an average 5 Star equivalent energy rating by 2020 and this rebate will help us achieve that target,” he said.

“Solar hot water heaters are currently the most cost-competitive solar technology on the market. Replacing energy guzzling hot water systems with solar hot water can reduce the contribution of hot water to household greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent.

“Labor first introduced rebates for household solar hot water systems in 2000, and since then, more than 35,000 Victorian households have received a rebate. The greenhouse gas emissions saved to date are equivalent to 80,000 tonnes per annum.

Mr Brumby said the Government was determined to rise to the challenge of climate change and to create a climate of new economic opportunity.

“Labor is investing in sustainable industries and using our State’s strengths in innovation to develop new technologies and jobs that will not only benefit the environment but will also see our economy continue to grow,” he said.

“Labor has a proud record of leading the nation on tackling climate change, and we are also strongly committed to social justice and creating a fairer Victoria, and this program is great example of how those two goals can compliment each other.”
“Labor’s disciplined economic management means Victoria is in a position to lead the country in tackling climate change. That is exactly what we are doing through Taking Action for Victoria’s FutureVictoria’s Climate Change Action Plan released in July, which sets a target of a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.”


Mr Brumby said reducing emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 is a massive task but Labor had the plan to achieve its emissions targets through:

•    Reducing greenhouse gas emission through the staged closure of Hazelwood;

•    Making Victoria the solar state;

•    Supporting cleaner and more efficient homes;

•    Delivering innovative transport solutions;

•    Creating new opportunities in agriculture and forestry; and

•    Greener government programs.

“Labor’s investment in the $175 million Jobs for the Future Economy Action Plan to stimulate new technologies and green skills has already seen benefits flow with a number of projects underway,” he said.

“Labor knows that our real strength as a State lies in the skills and drive of our people and that is why we know there is still more to do to build a cleaner and more sustainable future, and to keep the clean and skilled jobs coming across the State.”

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