Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (22:02): (1679) My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes, the Honourable Lily D’Ambrosio. This adjournment matter relates to the portfolio responsibilities of energy, environment and climate change. The Andrews Labor government is making sure that everyone keeps warm in winter and cool in summer without feeling financial pressure. In the 2020–21 Victorian state budget the government announced a $335 million initiative to support 250 000 Victorian households to replace outdated, unsafe or inefficient electric, gas or woodfired heaters with energy-efficient reverse-cycle split systems. Reverse-cycle air conditioners are energy efficient and can be used throughout the year. More than 3300 Victorians have already taken advantage of this rebate since it opened to community housing organisations in May and to owner-occupiers in August 2021. Now the rebate eligibility has expanded to include rental properties. We are doing this so that the rebate reaches as many vulnerable Victorian households as possible. We want to enable the rental providers to go beyond compliance. The added bonus is that decent heating will make the property more attractive for prospective tenants.
These upgrades will not only help the people who would struggle to afford a new heating and cooling system but also make Victorian homes more resilient to climate change. These heating and cooling upgrades will improve the comfort, wellbeing and health of Victorians while creating new jobs. This is part of the most ambitious and transformative renewable energy programs in Australia. The action I seek from the minister is to provide me with an update on how the residents of the Western Metropolitan Region can take advantage of this amazing program.
Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Minister for Solar Homes (21 December 2021):
The Victorian Government’s Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program will help 250,000 low-income and vulnerable households improve their thermal comfort by offering rebates to reduce the upfront cost of purchasing energy efficient reverse cycle split systems.
The Victorian Government has invested $335 million to assist low-income households install energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioners to replace their old gas, electric or wood heater. Households with no heating are also eligible.
Under the program, eligible households can receive a base rebate of $1,000 towards the cost of purchasing and installing a high-efficiency reverse cycle air conditioner, with a limit of one rebate per household.
Households may also receive an additional $200 towards the cost of decommissioning their old gas heater and $500 towards the cost of upgrading their switchboard if an upgrade is required to install the rebated reverse-cycle air conditioner.
The program opened to owner-occupiers in August 2021, with households eligible if they have an annual combined income of less than $90,000 or if they hold a concession card.
Rental households were added to the program in October 2021. Rental providers will be supported to install efficient heating and cooling that benefits their renters, where the renters are earning less than $90,000 per year or hold a Health Care Card or where the weekly rental is less than $500.
Applications can be made easily through the online portal on the Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program website, or by contacting Solar Victoria to receive a postal application pack. Once approved, applicants can select from a range of authorised suppliers listed on the program’s website who service their Local Government Area, to arrange their installation.
I would like to thank Ms Vaghela and the residents of the Western Metropolitan Region for their continued support of and interest in clean energy. A total of 76 households in the Western Metropolitan Region have already taken up this offer and installed an energy efficient reverse cycle air conditioner through this program.
I encourage your constituents to visit the Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program website at www.heatingupgrades.vic.gov.au or call the Solar Victoria team on 1300 376 393 for further information about the program, including eligibility criteria and the application process.