Through the 2020-21 budget, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government will build on the territory’s achievement of 100 per cent renewable electricity through investing $307 million over five years to take the next steps to transition the ACT to net-zero emissions.
This will occur through the following initiatives:
- Establishing a $150 million fund for the Sustainable Household Scheme to offer zero-interest loans of up to $15,000 to help households with the upfront costs of investing in rooftop solar panels, household battery storage, zero-emission vehicles and efficient electric appliances;
- Funding of $100 million over five years, including the 2020-21 financial year, will be allocated to deliver a Big Canberra Battery of at least 250 megawatts (MW) of new ‘large-scale’ battery storage distributed across the ACT;
- Waiving registration fees on new ZEV registered vehicles for the first two years of registration from May 2021 to encourage more Canberrans to purchase electric vehicles;
- Establishing a $5 million Building Energy Efficiency Upgrade Fund to support community clubs to undertake energy efficiency upgrades through initiative like water and ventilation audits, partial grants for certain energy and water efficiency upgrades and no-interest loans for certain upgrades such as rooftop solar;
- Establishing a $50 million Vulnerable Household Energy Support Initiative to improve building efficiency and sustainability for social and public housing, low-income owner-occupiers and low performing rental properties;
- Making it easier for ACT households to get better energy deals by making it mandatory for electricity retailers to provide customers with a reference bill for a typical consumer, and to notify customers of plans that would reduce the customer’s bills;
- Initial funding of $855,000 to support phasing out fossil fuel gas through continuing work on the ACT’s sustainable energy policy actions and developing legislation to prevent new gas mains network connections to future stages of greenfield residential development in the ACT; and
- Investing $915,000 over two years to establish an Office of the Coordinator General for Climate Action to coordinate government efforts and oversee major projects to keep our Climate Action commitments on track.
The Government stated that, at a time of climate crisis, it knows that the decisions made today will have significant consequences for future generations of Canberrans.
“The ACT Government has one of the most ambitious agendas for addressing climate change globally and is committed to showing other jurisdictions what is possible to achieve in a short period of time, while supporting all Canberra households through the necessary transition,” it said.
“These initiatives are the first steps to progressing the ACT Government’s commitment to Climate Action through the Parliamentary Agreement of the 10th Legislative Assembly.”
Having declared a climate emergency, Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said the Government is doing what it takes to cut greenhouse gas emissions and support the ACT community to withstand the impacts of climate change.
“This budget commits major new investment to help Canberrans live more comfortably and sustainably, tackling the biggest pieces in our emissions puzzle with a focus on phasing out fossil fuel gas and transforming ACT transport to be zero emissions,” Minister Rattenbury said.
“We’re aiming for an EV revolution over the next decade, with the ACT leading the transition to zero emissions transport. Free registration and no-interest loans for zero-emissions vehicles, along with a new network of 50 public charging stations for electric vehicles will make EVs a real option for Canberrans who may have been hesitant until now.”
“The budget supports the ACT’s nation-leading effort to phase out of fossil fuel gas, in line with our commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045. It prevents gas connections in new suburbs, and offers no-interest loans for households to upgrade to efficient electric appliances,” he said.
“Importantly, the $50 million Vulnerable Household Energy Support Initiative will also help reduce energy bills, and improve energy efficiency in public housing, rental properties and for low-income owner-occupiers.”