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REIA welcomes $60 million initiative for household energy upgrades but stresses need for comprehensive support


The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has welcomed the government’s new $60 million initiative through the Household Energy Upgrades Fund (HEUF), aimed at boosting retrofit activities for Australian households. However, REIA President Leanne Pilkington emphasized that more comprehensive support, in terms of both policy reform and funding, is needed to address the mammoth task of retrofitting existing housing stock and commercial inventory.

Ms Pilkington said, “We welcome the release of $60 million in support through Plenti and look forward to engaging with the Australian Government and Plenti to leverage their networks of property owners and investors to drive actual behaviour change to achieve our NetZero ambitions.”

She noted that making homes and businesses more energy-efficient is crucial for easing the cost of living, reducing pressure on Australians, and meeting emissions reduction targets. However, she stressed that retrofitting remains a major looming problem that has not yet been addressed with a holistic support program for Australian households.

“REIA learnt at the UN Global Forum on Building and Construction in March 2024 that retrofitting worldwide has been costed to be a $285 billion dollar task. More will need to be done, and one key consideration is tax incentives for property owners and investors, as suggested by the crossbench and supported by REIA,” Ms Pilkington said.

She also cautioned against placing additional costs on households as a consequence of Net Zero targets, given the current cost of living crisis and the persistence of low home loan to income ratios.

The $60 million initiative, announced by Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen and Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister, is part of the Albanese Government’s $1 billion Household Energy Upgrades Fund. The funding, delivered through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and lender Plenti, will support cheaper finance for rooftop solar, home batteries, and other energy efficiency upgrades for Australian homes.

While REIA welcomes this first step, the organization emphasizes the need for a more comprehensive and holistic approach to support Australian households in the transition to a more energy-efficient and sustainable future.

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