The Clean State initiative has launched the Building and Housing component of their Jobs Package, a proposal that could see 63,000 jobs created while reducing homelessness and cutting power bills for West Australians.
It is the first component of a series of initiatives contained within the Clean State Jobs Package that could create more than 200,000 jobs to stimulate the economy and address climate change. The building and housing stage alone would cut 360,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
The Jobs Package is the product of research by a broad team of industry experts from many sectors, and is Clean State’s response to the Western Australian government’s State Recovery Advisory Group.
Clean State Director of Research and Policy, Chantal Caruso, said the plan to build 15,000 energy efficient social housing homes in three years would deliver huge benefits to the state.
“WA’s construction industry is one of our largest employers but has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. Housing construction is one of the most powerful job creation and stimulus measures, and will play a huge role in our state’s economic recovery.
“There are 14,000 families on WA’s social housing waiting list, waiting an average of 94 weeks for a home, and 1,000 West Australians sleeping rough each night.
“Our plan would deliver homes to those families and individuals with a 7.5 star energy rating, which means lower bills, higher quality of life, and less pollution.
“Building these homes in three years would deliver 58,500 shovel and screwdriver-ready full-time construction jobs, 1,150 rooftop solar installation jobs. It would also save 84,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year,” she said.
Ms Caruso said recent polling showed 78 per cent of Western Australians supported social housing construction and renovation as a stimulus measure in economic recovery plans, with only 4 per cent against.
The second pillar of the Clean State building plan is the delivery of deep energy retrofitting to WA’s 45,000 social housing homes across the state.
“A high proportion of public housing tenants are over 65 years old and almost half report a disability and are more likely to be vulnerable to temperature extremes in summer and winter. Simple energy efficiency measures could halve deaths from cold weather, and cut heatwave related deaths by 90 per cent.
“These renovations would dramatically improve the comfort of the home whilst slashing the power bills of WA’s most vulnerable families by as much as $800 a year.
“It would deliver about 3800 full-time jobs over three years, mostly to small businesses in insulation, energy efficiency and rooftop solar. It is an economic, social and environmental investment in this state’s future.
“This package would save another 277,000 tonnes of emissions every year, and if the emissions abatement under these two proposals was packaged up as a form of WA carbon offset credit, it would generate $162.4million – which could be used to fund the package.”
“Over the weekend Australia’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, warned that the country is not doing enough to lift energy efficiency, and said efficiency measures are the ‘best form of energy generation you could possibly ever hope to have’. Cutting energy wastage is a huge benefit to householders and to the environment.”
Ms Caruso said Western Australia could lead the country out of recession by becoming a world leader in energy efficient construction.
“Our community needs secure jobs, affordable housing and lower living costs, and the environment needs significant cuts to pollution. This plan delivers on all fronts.”