Joint media release: Energy upgrades to ease cost of living pressures for social housing residents

Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy 
Julie Collins MP, Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness, Minister for Small Business
Yvette Berry MLA, ACT Acting Chief Minister, ACT Minister for Housing
Shane Rattenbury MLA, ACT Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction
Senator Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy

More Canberrans will enjoy the benefits of energy-efficient homes with a $35.2 million partnership to upgrade over 5,000 public homes across the national capital.

Most social housing was built over 20 years ago, before minimum build standards – meaning social housing properties are amongst the most energy inefficient in Australia.

That’s why the Albanese Government is partnering with the ACT Government to expand the Home Energy Support: Public Housing Program to reduce energy bills for residents and deliver upgrades to keep their homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Social housing residents are among the Australians who can least afford energy leaking out the door – and would benefit most – from energy upgrades.

This investment is part of the $1.7b Energy Savings Package, $300m of which is helping to fund upgrades for 60,000 social housing properties across the country.

These upgrades for electrification and energy efficiency will help save on bills – with households estimated to achieve significant reductions in their energy consumption each year.

The Commonwealth contribution of $7.2 million will help deliver cost of living relief over the medium to long term for the 5,000 public housing properties across the ACT that do not meet minimum energy efficiency standards.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen said the Albanese Government was committed to delivering investments that save on energy and save on bills for households across the country.

“We’re delighted to invest with the ACT in critical energy upgrades that will help deliver more affordable power bills to over 5000 social housing properties.

“Today’s announcement comes on top of our Energy Price Relief Plan which is supporting 57,000 ACT residents with an average of $327 of dollars off their bills, despite the LNP’s shameful attempts to block it.”

Minister for Housing Julie Collins said today’s announcement builds on the cost-of-living relief that Albanese Government is already providing and continues to deliver for Australians in social housing.

“We want to ensure more Australians have a safe and affordable place to call home,” Minister Collins said.

“That means people in social housing should be able to afford to keep cool in summer and warm in winter.”

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister said the Albanese Government wants to help all Australians benefit from energy upgrades to lower power bills and reduce emissions, no matter where they live or how much they earn.

“Energy upgrades and electrification can help tenants save money on energy bills and keep homes warm in Canberra winters.

“Most Australian homes were built before energy efficiency standards. We want to see a renovation revolution to make sure Australians have cheaper and more comfortable homes, all while lowering emissions."

Acting ACT Chief Minister Yvette Berry said she welcomed the Australian Government investment which will improve living conditions for many Canberrans and help meet the ACT’s emissions targets.

“The ACT Government has committed to easing the cost-of-living pressures for all Canberrans as we transition to net zero emissions by 2045,” Minister Berry said.

“We’re working with the Australian Government on this initiative that will help make homes more energy efficient while also easing the cost of living for those on lower incomes.

“We will need continued investment at all levels to move towards a future that is sustainable, efficient, and affordable for everyone.

“Public housing tenants deserve to live in homes that are comfortable and affordable to run all year round.

“By the end of 2026, all public housing homes will meet the minimum energy efficiency standards and include additional electrification upgrades to improve the living standards for our tenants."

Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said that phase two of the Home Energy Support: Public Housing Program will continue to upgrade homes in line with the new minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties, and switch properties off gas and make them all-electric.

“The program will install insulation and swap out old gas appliances for energy efficient electric alternatives, meaning the property can disconnect from gas. This will help residents to save on their energy bills and an all-electric household can save up to $300 each year on gas connection fees.

“This is in line with the ACT Government’s commitment to phase out fossil fuel gas by 2045 to help achieve our target of net zero emissions.”