Media Release                                                                 10 February 2016

Thumbs up for energy efficient community housing

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and Q Shelter, have backed the Federal Government’s plans to spend $250 million for loans to provide energy efficient community housing, for much needed low-cost housing and to help with skyrocketing energy bills.

The move will see the government spend $250 million over the next five years to build 1,000 homes, according to a new report from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

QCOSS CEO Mark Henley said it was clear that the lack of low-cost housing and the rising cost-of-living, in particular electricity bills, were leaving many vulnerable and disadvantaged families struggling to cope.

“Our recent pre-budget submission raised the need for more to be done in the areas of housing and homelessness, and cost of living pressures, as well as support for people struggling with high energy bills in Queensland,” Mr Henley said.

“This program will go some way to address these areas of concern and provide quality, energy efficient and suitable housing for low-income families.

“Vulnerable and low-income families often find their financial situation compounded by living in inefficient housing with older hot water systems and fixed appliances which can be highly energy intensive and therefore costly to run.”

Q Shelter Executive Director Leone Crayden welcomed the announcement and said it was good news for the state’s community housing sector and vulnerable Queenslanders.

“Q Shelter wants to see a strong community housing sector that provides more access to better housing for vulnerable Queenslanders.” Ms Crayden said.

“We look forward to seeing this new and improved housing roll out across the state in the months and years ahead.”

Mr Henley said the program also included finance to retrofit existing buildings to improve energy efficiency for tenants which was a fantastic outcome and could change the future financial situation for many families living on the edge.

The retrofit program could include measures such as switching to LED lighting, updating household appliances, installing solar panels and improving insulation.

“We know that housing costs and energy bills are two of the biggest burdens for low-income families and by targeting these two issues together is a win-win, with the added benefit of creating a cleaner, greener Australia,” Mr Henley said.

“We look forward to this program being taken up in Queensland and hope that governments of all levels show their support and investment in these areas is continued long into the future.”

CONTACTS

QCOSS Communication Manager – Karen Murphy 0423 245 252

Q Shelter – Scott McGregor 0430 100 932