Turnbull Government Slammed by Labor: “Empty Vessel”


Labor has accused the Turnbull government of empty promise with regard to the project on the AU$250 million energy-efficient homes. It also said it was a paradox that the project has to be delivered by an agency, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which was sought to be scrapped by the government.

The formal announcement on the project will come from Environment Minister Greg Hunt at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, reports WA Today.

According to Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler, it was “disingenuous to the extreme to promise some of our most vulnerable communities improved energy efficiency through the CEFC when they intend to abolish it at the first opportunity.”

“It’s said an empty vessel makes the loudest sound, and true to form, Minister Hunt’s $250 million announcement is as empty as his and Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment to tackling climate change,” Butler said. Minister Hunt is already on record that the $250 million Community Housing Program of Turnbull government will “contribute to the construction of as many as 1000 new energy-efficient homes Australia-wide”. Hunt called it great news for the families of low-income Australians.

“This is a very practical way to drive down household energy costs, which can make a real and positive difference for low-income families,” he said.

Hunt claimed the new mode of financing by Turnbull government would support community housing providers to invest in new homes, made of energy-efficient materials. They would comprise double-glazed windows, quality insulation and ventilation to cut down needs of heating and cooling.

The project will be overseen by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Ironically, the government of Tony Abbott wanted to scrap the energy agency. But it was blocked by the Senate. Asked if it was still the Turnbull government’s policy to abolish the agency, Liberal Senator Anne Ruston recently said “it is.”

Meanwhile, the Treasury has invited public submissions to explore the means for affordable rental housing through innovative financing models. Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter said one of the keys to increasing the supply and availability of affordable rental housing was attracting investment, reports PS News.

“Improvements in the area of attracting investment to affordable housing supply will require innovative and collaborative approaches across the private and not-for-profit sectors, and with States and Territories,” Porter said.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Alex Hawke said affordable housing would boost the initiatives already under way in the States and Territories. They include the NSW Government’s recently announced Social and Affordable Housing Fund. Public submissions are open until 11 March and meetings with industry and academic experts would be held during the submission process.

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