CONSTITUENCY QUESTION | SOLAR HOMES

Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (12:53:57): My constituency question is directed to the Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes. The Solar Homes package is about giving Victorian households greater control over their household bills. Solar Homes will mean that 770 000 Victorian families, including renters, will have their homes powered by rooftop solar or batteries, or have solar hot-water systems, saving them up to an average of $895 on their energy bills each year. Victorian households are eligible for funding of up to $2225 to support the installation of solar panels or up to $1000 for solar hot-water systems in Victorian homes. I was pleased to hear that so far Solar Victoria has received more than 28 000 applications and that more than 10 000 Victorian households are installing solar panels. The western metro region of Melbourne is home to many individuals and families from CALD backgrounds, and for many of them English is their second language. Can the minister outline the work that the Andrews Labor government are doing in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region to ensure that families and individuals in my electorate understand the benefits of Solar Homes? In particular, can the minister provide an update on what measures are being taken to ensure people from non-English-speaking backgrounds— (Time expired)

RESPONSE

Ms D’AMBROSIO (Mill Park—Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes): Solar Homes has now received more than 32,000 applications demonstrating the great success of this program, rapidly bringing down the daily energy costs of thousands of Victorians on low and middle incomes by hundreds of dollars a year. This has been an extraordinarily successful program and particularly popular in the Western Metropolitan Region, where many new homeowners from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are settling. In fact, of the top 20 suburbs taking part in Solar Homes, eight are in the Western Metropolitan region, with Tarneit being number one in the state. We currently provide translation services for Victorians wishing to contact Solar Victoria through its call centre, via the National Translation Interpreter Service. The details of the service can be found on the contact page on the Solar Victoria website. To date we have had 42 calls to our call centre via this service. Solar Victoria is in the process of developing a dedicated translation line which will continue to service this need. Solar Victoria is also developing information packs on the program in 11 community languages These languages include Hindi, Punjabi, Sinhalese, Tamil, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese, Turkish, Greek and Italian. This material is being developed now, and will be available by 1 July, when the second phase of the $1.3 billion Solar Homes program begins.