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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 53 asked in the Legislative Council on 14 February 2019 by Hon Tim Clifford

Minister responding: Hon P.C. Tinley
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 14 February 2019


53. Hon TIM CLIFFORD to the minister representing the Minister for Housing:

I thank the minister for his response to the question yesterday regarding solar photovoltaic systems on public housing. I remain concerned about energy poverty and, therefore, would like some further information and clarification from the minister regarding his response.

(1) Could the minister please provide details of the energy subsidies provided by the Department of Communities and, in particular —

(a) what is the source of funding for the subsidy;

(b) what is the total funded amount annually of this funding for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018;

(c) are the subsidies provided as a one-off payment or ongoing payments; and

(d) what is the eligibility for this subsidy?

(2) Will the minister advise how many public housing properties do not have ceiling insulation? Please provide this information including a breakdown of dwelling type—for example, apartments and freestanding dwellings.


I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) (a)–(d) The Department of Communities does not provide energy subsidies exclusively for social housing tenants. The Department of Communities manages the hardship utility grant scheme, which assists people in financial hardship who are at risk of having their essential utilities—electricity, gas and water—disconnected. HUGS is a grants scheme, not a subsidy. Questions regarding HUGS will need to be referred to the Minister for Community Services.

(2) The Department of Communities is unable to provide data on the number of insulated public housing properties. The Department of Communities owns more than 36 000 properties and information regarding insulation is held on an individual property basis; it is not aggregated.

The Department of Communities has a climate control policy in place and will install insulation at any public housing property where a tenant or their partner is aged 80 years or over. Tenants under the age of 80 years who require insulation due to a medical condition or disability, who supply supporting medical evidence, may apply to the Department of Communities to have insulation installed.

Insulation is installed in all new properties built by the Department of Communities. The Department of Communities adheres to the Australian Standards outlined in the Building Code of Australia, part of the National Construction Code, produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board.