Energy Efficiency for people on low incomes must be a government priority

The release today of a consultation paper on the national energy performance strategy serves as an opportunity to address the energy affordability, health and climate change crisis, as well as reducing poverty and inequality.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said

“The energy efficiency of housing in Australia is so poor that people on low-incomes, especially those who rent, are getting sick or dying because they can’t reduce their energy use or install retrofits to keep their home warm in winter or cool in summer.

“People on low incomes are already depriving themselves of heating or cooling, hot water, minimising the use of oven and stoves. For months now people have been going without food or medicines to afford their energy bills.

“As the energy crisis worsens, the case for an energy efficiency strategy has never been stronger.

“We welcome the Government’s focus on low-income people, including public and private renters, and First Nations communities, and urge the Government to prioritise these groups within its final strategy.

“We now need a one-off capital investment of approximately $5,000 in energy efficiency upgrades to save up to $1,100 per annum. Coupled with access to rooftop solar, upgrades will minimise energy bills ongoing for individual households.

“Such an investment would create profound and ongoing benefits for millions of people, while simultaneously saving lives, reducing poverty, and tackling the climate crisis.

“We also support the Government’s intentions to intervene in the energy market.  We urge the Government to put a price cap on domestic gas prices and apply a super profit tax on gas exports.

“The revenue from the super profit tax should be used to invest in energy efficiency and solar energy upgrades to people on low-incomes.”