Helping low-income earners get ready for a clean energy future
The Australian Government is today announcing a new Home Energy Saver Scheme to help low-income households get ready for a clean energy future, by improving household energy efficiency and cutting back on energy costs.
The $30 million initiative will commence early next year, with more than 50,000 households across the country expected to benefit.
For the first time, the Australian Government is bringing together financial literacy services and access to no interest loans with practical energy saving information and advice in people’s own homes.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, will make the announcement today at an event to mark Anti-Poverty Week at the Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service in Melbourne.
Under the new scheme, specially trained workers will visit people in their own homes to help low income earners to develop “energy literacy” skills. During the visits people will receive:
- Information and advice about practical and affordable options for reducing their energy usage such as more energy efficient lighting and basic household goods such as shower heads and blinds;
- Help to access no or low interest loans to purchase energy efficient appliances such as a refrigerator or washing machine, to reduce energy costs;
- A complete financial health check that looks at all aspects of household spending and helps people to understand and make the most of their energy bills and concepts like off peak periods; and
- One-on-one budgeting assistance to develop strategies to make sure household budgets are balanced and bills are paid on time.
Low-income households have much less room to move in their budget, which is why the Government will deliver assistance through increased payments and tax cuts that exceeds their expected average price impact from the introduction of a carbon price next year.
On average, households will see cost increases of $9.90 a week, while the average assistance will be $10.10 a week.
All the household assistance families and pensioners receive is no strings attached – so if people can make some small changes, like changing to energy efficient light bulbs or switching the television off at the power point, they will keep all of their extra payments and tax cuts.
The new scheme will complement the Government’s household assistance, and give extra help to vulnerable people to make these changes and keep ahead of their bills.
It will be delivered through existing, experienced networks of not-for-profit organisations that currently provide financial counselling services.
This will ensure that people with more complex financial issues can get the help they need from one organisation.
The new scheme builds on the successful No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS (R)) which the Australian Government delivers in partnership with Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service and the National Australia Bank.