Joint media release: Helping Australians save energy, save on energy bills

The Hon Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer
The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy
Senator Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy

The Albanese Government is taking action to drive down household and business energy costs and make homes and businesses cheaper to run.

Making homes and businesses more energy efficient is one important way we can ease the cost of living and take pressure off Australians.

As part of our plan to ease the cost of living without adding to inflation, the 2023-24 Budget delivers more than $1.6 billion for energy saving upgrades for homes, businesses and social housing.

This investment will help people with older homes and appliances that don’t meet modern energy standards to upgrade and keep money from leaking out the door.

Australia has slipped down to 58th out of 63 countries on energy use per capita thanks to a decade of inaction, but we know that upgrading an average house from a 1-star rating to a 3-star rating can reduce energy consumption by 30 per cent, which will drive down energy bills.

That’s why the Albanese Government is helping households – including social housing – and businesses to access energy savings and upgrades through the Energy Savings Package.

The 2023-34 Budget delivers:

  • $1.3 billion to establish the Household Energy Upgrades Fund. This fund will provide $1 billion to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to turbocharge financing options for household energy upgrades – partnering with banks and other lenders on upgrading homes with battery-ready solar PV, modern appliances and other improvements to keep them warmer in winter and cooler in summer. This will help more than 110,000 households lower their energy bills.
  • The Fund also includes $300 million to support upgrades to social housing, co-funded and co-designed with the states and territories. As most social housing was built over 20 years ago, before minimum build standards, the energy efficiency of most social housing is amongst the lowest in Australia. These are the Australians who can’t afford – and would benefit most – from energy upgrades. It’s estimated that once implemented, around 60,000 social housing properties will save up to one-third of their energy consumption from upgrades each year.
  • $310 million for the Small Business Energy Incentive, to provide businesses with annual turnover of less than $50 million, an additional 20 per cent deduction on spending that supports electrification and more efficient use of energy. The bonus tax deduction will be available for up to $100,000 of total eligible expenditure (with the bonus tax deduction capped at $20,000) and will help up to 3.8 million small and medium sized businesses with ongoing energy savings.
  • $36.7 million to expand and upgrade the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme to apply to existing homes. Many older homes don’t meet modern energy efficiency standards, and at the moment, Australians have access to more information on the energy efficiency of their washing machines, than they do their homes. This investment means people will be able to seek a home energy rating, so Australians can make the best choices for their hip pocket when it comes to energy upgrades and renting and purchasing homes.
  • This funding will also expand and modernise the Greenhouse Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS). Existing minimum energy efficiency and labelling requirements save the average household between $140 and $220 per year on electricity bills. But Australian requirements only cover around half the products of comparable other countries. This funding will help expand GEMS to help Australian households and businesses save on bills and emissions.

The Albanese Government wants to give families the tools, information, and access to cheap financing they need to upgrade their home, lower emissions and energy costs.

This Budget delivers significant investments in energy efficiency to ease cost-of-living pressures for Australian families and small and medium-sized businesses, and puts downward pressure on energy bills.

This Energy Savings Package is in addition to the urgent relief delivered through the Energy Price Relief Plan, which has resulted in retail electricity price increases for 2023-24 now being around 25 percentage points lower than in the October 2022-23 Budget, and targeted rebates for eligible households and businesses.

The Albanese Government is committed to delivering cheaper, cleaner energy to more Australians, and this Energy Savings package puts Australian households and businesses in the driver’s seat on accessing ongoing savings on their bills and emissions.