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Question Time - Renewable Energy

My question is directed to the Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government representing the Minister for Energy. In the recent budget the New South Wales Government announced $100 million in electricity rebates for eligible households.  Rather than just short-term relief, will the New South Wales Government consider following the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania in implementing an interest-free loan scheme for rooftop solar and batteries available to everyone to unlock energy independence, lasting household savings and much-needed energy supply for our State?

Mr JIHAD DIB (BankstownMinister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Minister for Emergency Services, and Minister for Youth Justice) (11:24): I thank the member for Wakehurst and welcome him back from the U2 concert. I hope when he returned he was able to say that he found what he was looking for—a bit of Achtung Baby—because, Mr Speaker, I still haven't found what I'm looking for, I can tell you that.

The SPEAKER: The member for Canterbury will come to order.

Mr JIHAD DIB: I am grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Minister for Energy in this place. I thank the member for Wakehurst for his long-running interest in supporting households with their energy transition. That was well before he came to Parliament and it is well documented. As the question notes, an additional $100 million has been included in the New South Wales budget this year. That is on top of the existing energy bill relief as we battle the cost-of-living crisis. We know that people are doing it tough and this additional funding will make a serious and material difference to the most vulnerable members of our community.

We also acknowledge the need to deliver both short-term relief and long-term solutions. We know that the best way to do that is by driving down electricity prices through the cheapest form of energy generation as well as firm renewables, which is another part of the budget. We do this at one end of the scale when we have renewable energy zones and, at the other end of the scale and on a smaller level, when we have community energy as well. There is a great deal of enthusiasm in the community to embrace and lead the energy transition through the uptake of small-scale renewable energies, such as solar and things like that, and supporting that with batteries. That is an important point. Households will play a key part in the New South Wales energy transition. We are committed to harnessing this enthusiasm and ensuring that the benefits are shared more widely. That is why we recently announced we will develop a consumer energy strategy.

Just as the road map lays out our plan for large-scale renewable energy power plants, we are developing a strategy to help households and support small-scale renewables. This will ensure that there is a coordinated rollout of rooftop solar, batteries, virtual power plants and electrification. The strategy will make sure that households understand what transition means, how they can embrace it and how we can support them through it. It will also ensure that we have the right programs in place to support households to unlock those opportunities. This includes considering the most effective ways to incentivise the uptake of rooftop solar. The strategy will also put in place the necessary enablers so that governments can trust the grid. The New South Wales Government is always ready to support all households. [Extension of time]

That includes supporting renters and those who live in apartments, who we know are traditionally locked out of these opportunities and do not get a chance to harness the benefits of rooftop solar. The New South Wales Government is committed to supporting an equitable adoption of changes that will provide benefits across the entire State. The transition for households is truly exciting. It presents a future where communities are empowered to generate locally and store clean and affordable energy. This will put downward pressure on bills as well as reduce pressure on our grid. We have known for a long time that we must transition our energy system to one that is clean and based on renewable energy. It is a key step in supporting households to play a coordinated and active role in the energy transition. The Government looks forward to continuing to work with the member for Wakehurst as well as members across the entire Parliament on this important issue of making sure that we support all communities as we transition to a cleaner and better energy supply.

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