“Australia’s first electrification budget”- What the 2023 Federal budget means for households

view of housing

There was big news for the performance of Australia’s homes in this week’s federal budget, with $1.3 billion announced in funding for home energy efficiency retrofits and electrification.

The package includes $1 billion that will be funnelled through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to enable low-interest green loans for home upgrades, and $300 million for the retrofit of social housing homes. It also includes funding for better consumer information through the important expansion of NatHERS to include existing homes, appliances, and solar.

Renew recognises the significance of a long-awaited budget that affirms the need for new investments in electrification and energy efficiency for homes and small businesses. These initiatives will help some Australian households and businesses permanently lower power bills while also cutting harmful carbon pollution.

The package for household energy upgrades will be delivered through accessible loans for households to install solar panels, get rid of gas hot-water system and stove-tops, install double-glaze windows and undertake other energy efficiency measures. This fund is expected to support upgrades for approximately 110,000 homes.

The budget also outlined $314 million going towards a small business energy incentive to support small businesses to get off gas, become more energy efficient and lower their power bills.

The government has also last week committed to funding a new National Net Zero Authority with the aim to reduce national emissions and help industry, communities and workers manage the shift to a low-carbon economy. The establishment of this authority is long overdue and is a key step in ensuring Australia can reach net-zero emissions by 2050, as part of the global effort to arrest climate change. The Authority will be central to co-ordinating the transformation towards decarbonising our economy and helping new and existing industries through this transition.

Making this year’s budget a first for household energy efficiency measures, Renew eagerly awaits the roll out of these packages and will continue to inform our members and supporters of ways they can take advantage of these initiatives for their own homes, and especially for those living in social housing who have long been overlooked.

The budget announcements are an important step towards bringing Australia’s homes up to scratch. They should be followed up with other critical steps including minimum energy efficiency standards for renters, an end to new gas connections, mandatory disclosure of energy ratings when homes are sold or leased, and sustained support for retrofit programs.

For a detailed unpacking of the budget announcements as they relate to household energy efficiency read Sophie Vorrath’s article here.