The ACT Labor party has promised to deliver $150 million in zero interest loans to Canberra households, to support in the installation of rooftop solar, battery storage and heat pumps, if re-elected at the October ACT election.
It is the first of ACT Labor’s 2020 election commitments ahead of an October election in the nation’s capital, with the plan targeting new job creation as well as a way to further cut household energy costs.
“This $150 million commitment is one of the most significant investments in clean energy in the ACT’s history, and will create and protect hundreds of jobs for Canberra into the future,” ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr said.
“We believe all Canberrans should have the opportunity to benefit from cheaper household energy bills and make their homes more sustainable. The new policy will offer zero-interest loans between $2,000 and $15,000 to help with the upfront costs of these important investments.”
It is expected that the policy could create hundreds of new jobs within the ACT for installers, with the first loans planned to be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.
Under the incumbent Labor-Greens government in the ACT, the territory has already transitioned to 100 per cent renewable electricity, with a range of investments in new wind and solar projects.
However, ACT Labor sees continued investment in rooftop solar and battery storage as an opportunity to further drive down the costs of energy for Canberra households.
“An average ACT household could expect to save thousands of dollars over 10 years when installing rooftop solar, household battery storage and a heat pump,” Barr added.
“Our clean energy investments are already powering the ACT with 100% renewable electricity and delivering lower power bills. ACT households and businesses continue to have amongst the lowest cost and most reliable electricity supply in the country.”
It is the latest in a string of governments providing zero interest loans to support household solar and storage installs and replicates programs that have already been implemented in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
The ACT will hold its next election on 31 October and is expected to be a closely fought contest between the incumbent Labor-Greens government and the Liberal opposition.
Since 2016, the ACT Greens’ Shane Rattenbury has held the climate change and sustainability ministerial portfolio and said the fact that ACT Labor’s first 2020 election commitment was a sign that parties saw the need to demonstrate a commitment to clean energy as part of their pitch to Canberra voters.
“The Greens are already delivering wins for the environment at this election, with the other parties seeking to highlight their green credentials early in the campaign. This is a great start, and I would urge Canberrans to vote Green so that there is someone to hold their feet to the fire and make sure these promises are delivered in the next Assembly,” Rattenbury said.
“Canberrans know it is the Greens who push the other parties to do more, sooner – to accelerate our response to the climate crisis, to deliver renewable jobs and investment, and to seize every opportunity to create a climate-ready Canberra, for all of us.”
Canberra has long been a Labor stronghold, but the Canberra Liberals, who have faced the last 19-years in opposition, will likely run a campaign on the basis that its is time for a change, with the ACT currently the Australian jurisdiction with the longest period since a change of government.
During this period, the ACT has emerged as one of the leading Australian jurisdictions in terms of support for renewables and strong climate action, having successfully achieved a transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity and has committed to reaching zero net emissions by 2045.