As members of the Federal Government gather in Canberra for their cost-of-living summit, Michael
Regan MP, the independent State Member for Wakehurst, is encouraging them to look no further
than the backyard of Parliament.
"It's great that the PM and his Government are taking this issue so seriously" says Michael. "If
they're looking for a very real solution to both ease the cost of energy and address issues of climate
change, then can I suggest they look no further than the ACT Government and their "Sustainable
Household Scheme"" Michael says. "Basically it's a program of interest free loans for solar, batteries
and energy efficient products. In under three years, one in ten Canberra households have taken up
an interest-free loan, making it the ACT’s most successful consumer policy".
Mr Regan says a new nation-wide program could either be administered by the Federal Government
or they could fund their State counterparts to oversee the program.
"Energy costs are the highest they have ever been and are really hurting every Australian - everyone
is feeling the pinch. Giving interest free loans to put solar on your roof or add a battery to your
existing system has so many multiple benefits. It's a smart and simple measure to ease the cost of
Mr Regan says the scheme could even benefit renters if landlords were offered an attractive tax
incentive of instant depreciation on the asset, along with the various energy efficient appliances that
tenants could purchase with an interest free loan.
Mr Regan suggests the only thing holding the scheme back from being rolled out nationally is the
provision of capital. He goes on to suggest that the Federal government are in a position to provide
the funding for the expansion of the program.
"The scheme should have no salary cap for applicants and no postcode discrimination. Anyone who
wants to put solar on or add battery capacity should be able to do so. There would be instant
household financial savings and the added bonus is that it helps us race to our net zero targets at
both State and Federal levels."
"I call on Prime Minister Albanese and Chris Bowen as Energy Minister to take a look at the ACT
model and urgently take steps to expanding it across Australia.”
"Offering interest free loans for energy efficient upgrades provides households with significant and
ongoing cost of living relief and significant and ongoing emissions reduction. It can help many
consumers escape the scourge of "energy poverty" and will help us reach our ambitious reduction
targets. It genuinely is a win-win solution."
Mr Regan says using a federal or state government’s balance sheet to help bridge the gap between
the high capital costs and lower operating costs of electrification is a key tool in driving household
decarbonisation at scale - and save thousands of dollars a year in energy bills.
The ACT Sustainable Household Scheme provides eligible households ten-year, interest-free loans
from $2,000 up to $15,000 to buy and install a range of energy efficient products such as:● rooftop solar panels
● household battery storage systems
● electric heating and cooling systems
● hot water heat pumps
● electric stove tops
● electric vehicle charging infrastructure
● ceiling insulation
Over the life of the scheme, you can install one product or a bundle of products up to a combined
value of $15,000. Participants attend a free online or in person workshop to assist with their energy
efficiency choices. I believe it is important to offer a range of energy efficient upgrades to
consumers, as options like solar for those in apartments is not straightforward. Instead, apartment
owners can participate by installing an induction cooktop, electric heating or cooling, an EV charger
or maybe a hot water heat pump. Demographic profiling of the ACT’s scheme found loan demand to
be greatest amongst those most in need.