Renewable energy

Ms SANDELL (Melbourne) — Today I will speak briefly about renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Greens have welcomed the news that the government has decided to support a Victorian renewable energy target. I expect that the public consultations on the renewable energy road map will show overwhelming support for an ambitious target of much more than the government's baseline of 20 per cent. The Greens policy is for at least 90 per cent by 2030.

But energy efficiency also plays an important role in our response to climate change. Many homes in Victoria are like glorified tents — expensive to heat and cool, and quite uncomfortable. It is a huge waste. Making our homes more energy efficient helps people save money, makes homes more comfortable and reduces emissions. It is a win-win approach.

The government might be tempted to introduce some small or moderate initiatives on energy efficiency and say any progress is good enough, but it could instead make real, lasting change. I would like to throw my support behind the One Million Homes Alliance and its calls for ambitious energy efficiency policies. Let us set a target of lifting every home in Victoria to an average rating of 5-star energy efficiency. Let us upgrade 80 000 public housing units to help people with their bills and make their houses more comfortable.

The Victorian energy efficiency target program is a good start, but we can do more by setting minimum standards for rental properties, providing affordable finance for home owners and landlords and implementing targeted retrofitting and education programs. These policies create jobs and could save consumers an average of $1000 a year, while saving the government $2.5 billion on energy concessions over 20 years. I urge the government to think big and not just settle for a small change in this area. Let us make some big changes and make Victoria a better place to live.

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