ACTCOSS calls for urgent action to prevent trickle-down transition

14 August 2023

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today released their report “Supporting a fair, fast and inclusive energy transition in the ACT”. The report details how the ACT Government can support low income and vulnerable households to make the switch off fossil fuel gas.

ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Devin Bowles, said: “The ACT Government’s Integrated Energy Plan is a nation leading project to reach net-zero emissions by 2045.

“ACTCOSS commends the Plan’s principles of a fair and equitable transition and strongly supports the focus on support for those who need it most.

“Our report highlights new strategic opportunities to enhance the transition that we look forward to recommending to the Government.”

Vulnerable households face major barriers to transitioning, such as cost and tenancy. Without support to overcome these hurdles the energy transition will further embed disadvantage and energy hardship in Canberra.

“To tackle climate change, it is critically important to phase out fossil fuel gas, but we agree with the Government that this should not be the only goal.

“This is an opportunity to reduce emissions, but also a chance to improve the health, living conditions, and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable Canberrans in our community,” said Dr Bowles.

The report highlights that for people on low incomes the main barriers to switching from gas to electricity are cost, tenancy, and lack of information.

  • Almost half (45%) of households surveyed noted cost as a barrier to transitioning
  • Only 22% of households surveyed said they would be able to transition in the next 5 – 15 years without government assistance
  • The majority (74%) of survey respondents said they would be more likely to transition with government support

“By implementing the evidence-based recommendations of this report, the ACT Government can ensure that no one is left behind. We look forward to continued collaboration between the community sector and ACT Government to ensure vulnerable and low-income households are prioritised throughout the energy transition” Dr Bowles concluded.

Key Recommendations:

  1. Expand targeted financial support to assist low-income households to improve energy efficiency and transition from gas to electricity.
  2. Conduct a widescale upgrade of all public and social housing dwellings, including draughtproofing, insulation, and electrification.
  3. Implement stronger tenancy rights regarding efficient electric modifications and minimum standards.
  4. Introduce regulation to prevent new gas appliances from being installed in rental properties.
  5. Subsidise the gas abolishment fee for low-income households and community housing providers.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations. Follow us @ACTCOSS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Devin Bowles, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0413 435 080.

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