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Vic Budget: Renters and owners to benefit from $797m household energy package

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 has promised what the Andrews Government is calling “the biggest household energy efficiency package in any state’s history”.

The $797 million investment into energy efficiency is tipped to create thousands of jobs, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring ongoing savings in power bills for both landlords and renters.

In a bid to reduce energy bills for tenants, the Government will introduce minimum efficiency standards for rental properties.

The standards “are expected to benefit renters living in around 320,000 poor-quality accommodation, ensuring they don’t have to have to put up with old, dodgy heaters and cold, poorly insulated homes,” according to the Andrews Government.

Funding has also been allocated to offset the cost of moving to 7-star efficiency standards for new homes, with funding earmarked for “skills, training and jobs” in the construction sector.

Other investments include:

  • $335 million to replace old wood, electric or gas fired heaters with new energy-efficient systems that are safer and cheaper to run, while also driving down emissions. The program will be open to low-income earners and save 250,000 households between $300 to $900 each year on their energy bills.
  • $112 million to seal windows and doors, and upgrade heating, cooling and hot water in 35,000 social housing properties.
  • One-off $250 ‘hardship’ payments for eligible concession card holders, as direct bill relief estimated to help 950,000 Victorian households.
  • $14 million expansion of the existing Victorian Energy Upgrades program, in which very single Victorian household will be able to access rebates for more smart appliances.
  • $191 million to expand the Solar Homes program, meaning a total of 140,000 households will be able to install solar panels on their roof at no upfront cost over next two years. Small business will also be able to apply for 15,000 solar rebates for businesses.

“Most Victorians have spent more time at home this year – and more on power bills – than they ever have,” Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.

“That’s why we’re helping those struggling to pay their bills and making homes across the state more energy efficient.

“This pandemic has been hard enough without worrying about whether you can pay the power bill. Not only will we help cover that cost – we’ll help Victorians make their home more efficient and fight climate change.”

The energy package is in addition to a $5.3 billion social housing project, which was announced by the Victorian Government last week, in advance of the budget.

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