28 June, 2023
Helping communities save energy and save on energy bills
THE Federal Government is partnering with local governments to deliver energy upgrades and bill savings for community facilities like local pools, sporting clubs and community centres, so they can spend more on what they do best.
A new $100 million Community Energy Upgrades Fund will co-fund upgrades with local councils, and has the potential to unlock over $200 million in high-impact energy upgrades to reduce costs for community facilities over the medium and long term.
In the Blair electorate, Somerset Regional Council own and operate many public sporting, community and cultural facilities that local residents use, and eight million Australians use community sport infrastructure every year.
Council will have the opportunity to apply for funding for energy upgrades, such as replacing energy-intensive heating in council pools with heat pumps, and energy-efficient lighting and battery storage at sporting fields, libraries and community centres.
The guidelines for the fund will be designed in close consultation with key stakeholders, including the Australian Local Government Association. Applications are expected to open next year.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made the announcement at the Australian Council of Local Government in Canberra and said that local government was central to the lives of all Australians.
“I convened this forum in Canberra for the first time in a decade to bring together mayors and council leaders from across Australia to engage with Federal Government Ministers about a shared vision and common goals.
“My government is committed to supporting local communities, and this includes helping them save on energy and power bills while upgrading facilities that serve their communities.”
Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, noted that local councils ran many of the sporting and public facilities that kept communities and clubs thriving.
“We want facilities that Australians know and love, like cricket grounds and local pools, to be able to save on their energy bills and spend more on the things they do best.
“The Federal Government is not just providing short term relief on power bills, with our Community Energy Upgrades Fund and Energy Savings Package, it’s also making the investments needed to deliver cleaner, cheaper power for the long term.”
Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, said that local governments were trusted delivery partners for a range of services communities rely on.
“This is why we continue to provide councils with targeted assistance to help them meet the needs of their local communities.
“We know that every dollar local governments save goes back into their community, which is why the Community Energy Upgrades Fund is great news. It will mean more energy efficient operations and better experiences for communities to enjoy.”
Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Jenny McAllister, said that local governments were on the front line of combating climate change.
“This is why we’re partnering on major projects to save energy and decarbonise public facilities.
“More than 1,000 council pools in Australia are owned or operated by local governments. They’re big energy users and efficiencies can make a real difference on the path to achieving net-zero emissions.
“We want to make every watt count. This fund will help local councils install efficient systems, reduce energy bills and lower emissions.”
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, hosted mayors and councillors from Ipswich City Council and Somerset Regional Council at Parliament House while they attended the Australian Council of Local Government, and welcomed the new funding.
“I’m thrilled with this announcement, and am keen to work with our local councils to identify potential projects in Ipswich and the Somerset Region, and put our best foot forward with bids for energy upgrades for our community.
“I strongly encourage Ipswich City Council and Somerset Regional Council to consider applying for funding through the Community Energy Upgrades Fund.”