Although Australia’s energy debate has largely focussed on the price of electricity on the supply side, energy efficiency on the demand side offers the most cost effective way to lower energy bills.
Energy efficiency can cut energy consumption by up to 50% and cut energy bills by hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year from a relatively simple investment.
Unfortunately, those most vulnerable in our society, such as low income renters, have so far been left behind from Australia’s energy policies. Alarmingly, renters on low incomes often reside in the most energy inefficient households and can be forced to make a tough decision of whether to heat their home or put food on the table.
People who rent aren’t only restricted by cost pressures, but also by tax law which perversely incentivises landlords to retain energy inefficient rental properties. For example, landlords are incentivised to repair faulty appliances that do not meet today’s minimum standards, rather than upgrade them.
To help address this issue, I introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving the Energy Efficiency of Rental Properties) Bill 2018.
The Bill would help people who are renting to improve their energy efficiency and provide a targeted package to those left behind from other energy policies. Energy efficiency doesn’t just slash energy bills and reduce demand on the grid, it also improves health outcomes and creates jobs.
I am pleased that the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee has reported on the bill and “supports the broad aims of the bill” and acknowledges that “improved energy efficiency will result in lower energy bills and improved health and wellbeing of tenants”.
Actions So Far
Energy Efficiency Speech Senate
- Property council welcomes bill to reduce energy bills for low-income households
- Low-income earners could save hundreds on power bills under Senator Tim Storer’s plan
- Low-income renters and energy affordability
- Support urgently needed for Storer’s bill to make rental housing bearable in extremes
- Low income renters can expect to keep paying higher bills and suffer the consequences as bill is defeated