A commitment of $200 million has been made by the Federal Labor and NSW State governments to provide financial support for low-income individuals in the energy sector.

Parents for Climate welcomed the announcement that will provide funding for cost-saving upgrades to up to 24,000 social housing properties and open up access to solar power to more than 30,000 households in total.

“Social housing represents some of the least energy efficient homes in the country, and this announcement covers about 6% of them,” said Parents For Climate CEO, Nic Seton.

“Millions more live in homes that simply can’t handle rising heat, with low income families the most at risk and least likely to have adequate insulation and climate controls.”

Around 30,000 households will be eligible to receive support to upgrade heat pumps, fans, air conditioning and solar systems in the hottest and coldest parts of New South Wales.

Member for Werriwa Anne Stanley said that this co-investment is part of a national program to ensure more Australians can benefit from energy upgrades to lower energy bills and emissions.

“These improvements will ease the cost-of-living pressures for tens of thousands of public and community housing residents by lowering their energy bills,” Ms Stanley said.

Take the case of Mary who lives in community housing in North West Sydney. She says that during summer “it feels like you can’t do anything” and the heat and humidity significantly affect her health. She currently has 3-4 fans set up, and a portable air conditioner but it’s very inefficient.

Mary’s glad about the announcement, and hopes she’s one of the people that gets some benefit. She also hopes that lots of the funding goes to Western Sydney where it’s needed because of the high temperatures. She’s very conscious that the high cost of living is putting a lot of pressure on her and many others.                             

Sweltering Cities Executive Director Emma Bacon said that the policy choices we make on housing and energy efficiency now will decide how many people die in the deadly heatwaves of our future.

“This funding is a good step towards helping low-income families manage their health as summers get hotter,” Ms Bacon said.

“Too many people in Western Sydney tell us that they can’t afford to keep cool, so it’s essential that we deliver solar access and energy efficiency measures that will keep bills down.”

Applauding the governments’ announcement as a positive step towards reducing the bills for the state’s social housing tenants, Heidi Lee Douglas, Solar Citizens CEO said that electrification and rooftop solar are effective ways to slash energy bills and address the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“Rolling out rooftop solar on social housing can save low-income households an average of $860 per year, while also contributing cheap, clean energy back to the grid and providing cheaper electricity for everyone,” Ms Douglas said.

“Adding batteries with storage orchestration offers additional grid security benefits for the energy grid, bringing bills down further.”