Shift to clean energy will support low-income households

Thursday, 07 March, 2019

Shift to clean energy will support low-income households

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has urged the federal government to invest in energy efficiency and reject calls to build new coal-fired power stations, which are expensive and contribute to dangerous climate change.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, “Calls by National MPs to build new coal-fired power stations, which investors repeatedly say are more expensive to build than wind and solar, are absolutely the wrong solution and must be immediately rejected.

“It’s crucial we find ways to achieve a faster transition to clean energy. Government investment in energy efficiency and solar will reduce both carbon emissions and bills for people on low incomes.

“Research by ACOSS and the Brotherhood of St Laurence shows that investment in energy efficiency and solar is one of the best ways to cut energy bills. A $5000 investment by government in energy efficiency for houses would save up to $929/year in electricity bills and a mandatory energy efficiency standard on rental properties could provide greater savings, up to $1139/year.

“Governments also need to improve people’s capacity to pay their bills. Lowest income households spend, on average, 6.4% of their income on energy bills compared to highest income, spending 1.4% on average.

“Mandating minimum standards on rental properties and providing the right financial incentive for landlords to comply, together with lifting incomes for people, through raising [the] Newstart [Allowance] and improving energy concessions would make the big difference to people on low incomes struggling to cool their home in summer and feed their family,” Dr Goldie said.

ACOSS Climate Change and Energy Adviser Kellie Caught said, “This summer’s extreme weather events like the floods in Queensland, fires in Victoria and Western Australia, which have been made worse by climate change, have destroyed people’s homes and impacted livelihoods and health, especially for people experiencing poverty and disadvantage.

“There is no room for ignoring the science when it comes to protecting people’s lives and livelihoods. We must rapidly shift away from fossil fuels like coal to clean energy sources. People on low incomes must be supported.”

Image credit: © drop

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