Emissions Target Falls Short but ACOSS Welcomes Household Cash Compensation

15 December 2008

ACOSS is dismayed by the low target of a 5-15% reduction in greenhouse emissions, but welcomes the Government’s assistance measures for low income households in the carbon pollution reduction scheme announced today.

“The target of 5-15% falls well short. It will not stabilise the climate for current and future generations. It is a missed opportunity to provide jobs and an economic stimulus through a green collar workforce and building on our expertise in green technology,” said Clare Martin, CEO, ACOSS.

“But ACOSS welcomes the Government’s commitment to provide cash compensation for low income households through the tax and payments systems to cover the expected energy price increases.”

“Australians on income support will receive a 2.5% increase in payments which will help some meet the expected rise in average household electricity and gas bills of $6 per week. People on lower payments, such as Newstart and Youth Allowance, will receive proportionately less than other income support payments and still find it tough to make ends meet.”

While the announcement to assist the community sector through the Climate Change Action Fund is welcome, it is a stop gap that only meets half the need. Capital funding will only cover initial outlays for energy efficient equipment but will not meet the ongoing increased cost of energy.

“Also missing from today’s package is a retrofitting program for low income households to commence immediately. ACOSS has called for a retrofit of low income housing stock as part of our move to a low carbon economy. The retrofit would significantly increase household energy efficiency and could include upgrades of basic equipment such as hot water systems and refrigerators to best practice performance standards in low income households,” said Clare Martin.

ACOSS urges the Government to start retrofitting households at the beginning of 2009, at the same time as the Climate Change Action Fund.

A member of the Southern Cross Climate Coalition, ACOSS has urged the Government to cut emissions by 25% by 2020.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron – 0419 626 155