Topics: Cities agenda, energy efficient community housing, Clean Energy Finance Corporation
The Federal Government will spend $250 million over the next five years on loans to provide energy efficient community housing.
The program for 1,000 homes will be administered by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which the Government still intends to abolish.
The Environment and Cities Minister Greg Hunt says the Government wants to make use of the Corporation while it still exists.
The Minister is speaking here to AM's Naomi Woodley.
…housing to help many of our most disadvantaged but which is energy efficient.
So instead of getting houses which are draughty, which are poorly set up, which do not have energy efficiency built in, this is about giving some of the most vulnerable some of the best quality – and I think it's a long overdue combination.
So the Government will be allocating $250 million to help with energy efficiency as part of new community housing builds.
Is this money from the existing budget or is it a new allocation?
So this is finance from within the Clean Energy Finance Corporation allocation.
And what that means is it's about the Prime Minister's Better Cities agenda – housing for those who most need it, but energy efficiency to reduce their costs but also to reduce overall our energy demand and our emissions.
So should this be taken as a sign that the Government no longer wants to abolish the Corporation if you're willing to entrust it with a project of this size?
Well we said when we created a new ministry for Cities and there was a new Prime Minister that we would make use of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Our formal policy hasn't changed, but equally we're realistic that the Senate is also unlikely to change.
So we want to make sure that what we're doing is about helping those most in need, helping reduce our emissions and helping make our cities more energy efficient and generally greener.
Do you have a specific target of how many homes this funding will go towards making energy efficient, and what sort of time period are you looking at here?
Well this will work as a loan to Australia's community housing providers to build a thousand homes.
Obviously the money will then come back to the Government – so it's effectively a grant which is placed with the organisations, it's then repaid upon completion.
And by doing that we create a revolving capital trust – in other words, the money is put to good purposes, returned to government where it can be used for good purposes again.
And we want to do this over the coming years – making the announcement as part of Australia's commitment to the international innovation agenda in Dubai as part of the World Government Summit today.
And we're looking to do it in the period between now and 2020 or maybe 2021.
How do you ensure that these funds are delivered for the purpose intended – that's it's not going to be rorted or go to housing that isn't used for low income earners?
What's the governance mechanisms that will be set up around this?
Look I do think those are very important questions and that's why we will work through the registered community housing providers.
So they historically have delivered and they have received support in different ways from government.
This is a major injection into community housing – and so it’s through registered providers, it's going to be fully audited and they have a good history, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be subject to the most rigorous scrutiny.
Is this something that the community housing sector has asked for specifically?
It's been a direct negotiation between the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the community housing sector – they have clearly sought it.
It was a perfect fit. It's exactly what as a government we're trying to do – better cities, lower energy, greener outcomes, and supporting those most in need.