Federal funds put councils in hot water

Solar Heat Pump 2

By Paul Hemsley

Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, has launched a program to help local councils install solar or heat pump hot water systems in community facilities.

Mr Dreyfus and Federal Member for Maribyrnong and Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, opened the Local Government Energy Efficiency Program for $24 million this week as part of the federal government’s Clean Energy Future plan.

The government wants the plan to improve Australia’s economic productivity through its move towards a “prosperous low-carbon future”.

Mr Dreyfus said the hot water program will help support local businesses and smarter energy use in local government buildings and community facilities.

Mr Shorten said extra support is provided to councils in low socio-economic or otherwise disadvantaged areas.

“Extra assistance is also available to small regional and rural local governing authorities to meet project management costs,” said Mr Shorten.

The government has cited the Victorian Moonee Valley City Council as an example of local government energy conservation because of the solar hot water installed in its civic centre.

Mr Dreyfus said the government and “energy smart councils” like Moonee Valley will support Australian jobs and keep local industries “skilled, innovative and competitive into the future” though the program.

Moonee Valley City Council Mayor Narelle Sharpe said the council has been working hard to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, making a 40 per cent reduction at the Civic Centre in the last five years because of the solar hot water.

“We welcome the Federal Government’s support and the opening of the Local Government Energy Efficiency Program to further our local energy saving initiatives,” said Ms Sharpe.

Ms Sharpe said the council has been rolling out these solar hot water systems at five local preschools in the last year – saving 19 tonnes of CO2 emissions and $2200 in energy costs.

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