Using coronavirus crisis to cut energy bills

Over 50 social, property, business, environment, local councils and research groups have banded together to call on federal and state governments to stimulate the economy with an energy efficient and solar, low-income housing installation boom. 

Doing so would create tens of thousands of jobs, cut energy bills for people on low incomes who will spend back into the economy, and reduce carbon emissions. 

The call comes after the Federal Government’s housing stimulus proposal failed to include measures for people most in need, instead focusing on high income earners undertaking expensive renovations without any related social or environmental benefits. 

The National Low-Income Energy Productivity Program (NLEPP) proposal includes four measures:

  1. Social housing - Federal and state/territory governments provide matching funds to invest in energy efficiency upgrades and solar PV installations for social housing.
  2. Low-income home owners - The Federal Government partner with state, local councils and community organisations to provide energy efficiency upgrades and solar PV installations for low-income owner occupiers. 
  3. Inefficient rental properties - The Federal Government provide grants to landlords to support the upgrade of inefficient rental properties.
  4. Low-income appliance replacement offer – Governments provide subsidies for low-income households to replace inefficient appliances.


“People on low incomes struggle to put food on the table let alone afford to invest in energy efficiency measures to keep their home warm in winter,” said ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“Government investment would create new jobs that otherwise wouldn’t be created and improve people’s lives."

ACOSS climate and energy senior adviser, Kellie Caught said: “Investment in energy efficiency and solar now could quickly create more than 60,000 jobs in training, auditing, installation, manufacturing and local retail.

“Every dollar spent goes towards helping people most in need, creating jobs and cutting emissions, with every dollar saved on energy bills for a person on low income being spent back into the economy to create more jobs."  

Do you think proposals to boost energy efficiency for low income earners is a good suggestion?


The solar panels should be installed on all roofs.

On all new houses it should be mandatory to have solar panels

All solar panels should be produced in Auustralia.

 I agree with your sentiment Suze but as an owner of solar panels I must say that without an efficient battery storage there is limited benefit to people who work during the daytime. Perhaps post covid with more people working from home there will be a better return for mass installation. The solar panels benefit pensioners and others who can use power when the sun's out but that rules out the majority of householders mid week. Even when the sun is out the system wont work during a power outage as they shut down to avoid feed in problems. The feed in tariff is too small to be counted as a benefit, the gain from solar is to use your own power to avoid paying the exorbitant fees to mostly foreign owned paper shufflers who do nothing toward power generation but merely get paid a hansome profit for sending us an invoice.

These all seem like worthwhile projects but are they really necessary at this time? Australia is running up a very large debt at the moment trying to keep the economy moving and workers in jobs and this will need to be repaid. Do we need to add the the national debt just now? My cynicism also suggests that any scheme where government monies are involved will result in overpricing and unqualified people moving in to rip off the system. Remember the overpriced school halls and the pink batts?

Yes,  back to the pink bats where unqualified people jumped on the band wagon seeing a quick buck to be made and how did that turn out!

Solar too expensive for many oldies and they may not live long enough to get the benefit of their investment back.  Still many issues to be resolved before this becomes the state of the art system. I have heard that energy companies turn off the grid so householder cannot feed into it at times .

What I would like to see, bugger the "free trade" implications for this importtant issue, the government  take back the untility companies which should never have been sold off resulting in the chaos and exhhorbitant cost we have now.  Unfortunately never going to happen I feel but it should.

A sound idea. Only those who already have money can afford $150 000 renovations. The $25000 for one reno would put solar on at least 6 homes. At the moment the poor (who can't afford to purchase solar) are subsidising the rich who are covering their whole roof with taxpayers picking up quite a bit of the total cost.

As long as their income is less than $200,000 (I think).

It's a great  idea as long as it is means tested. No point helping those who already have a hefty bank balance.

Has to be heavily regulated too since we don't want any unqualified youngsters to lose their lives on the job as was the case during the pink bats bonanza.

I look forward to having my landlord make my house warmer in winter and cooler in summer, the rental standards are not up to scratch IMO. It is increasingly harder to bare with no air con in summer, sure winter I can wear more clothes and sit by the wood fire but not much I can do about the other rooms without racking up a huge electricity bill. How long does insualtion in a roof last? Mine has never been checked and I have had possums often living up there plus I have a big whole in the eaves letting in cold air, no cover on my fan in the kitchen, gaps everywhere in the walls letting in cold air and dust, but rent keeps going up every year and nothing gets spent on the house because my owners have no incentive to do anything. So funding is great if they were actually to spend it but we need to fix the regulations of standards for renters too.


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