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Energy efficiency tops agenda in Melbourne.

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Environment Minister, Peter Garrett said measures to assist households to save money and reduce carbon pollution through improved energy efficiency would dominate discussions with key stakeholders at roundtable meetings in Melbourne today.

Mr Garrett said the Melbourne meetings followed similar discussions in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart with industry, business and community groups and energy efficiency experts, and would inform the household assistance measures the Rudd Labor Government would detail in the lead up to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) white paper.

“The Rudd Labor Government is committed to helping Australian households to take practical to reduce energy use, save on energy bills and make a real contribution to tackling climate change.

“The messages coming through loud and clear from these meetings so far is that there are plenty of cost-effective options already available to householders, landlords and businesses alike to reduce carbon pollution.

“These roundtable discussions are helping identify the obstacles that currently exist to their uptake and the ways that might be addressed.”

Mr Garrett said the recent Federal Budget had included $1 billion in measures to help put Australian homes and communities on the energy efficiency fast track, including the Government’s Green Loans scheme and the Low-Emission Plan for Renters, which will provide rebates for landlords to install energy-efficient insulation in rental homes.

“Until now, national energy efficiency policy has been fragmented and uncoordinated with International Energy Agency indicators showing Australia’s improvements in energy efficiency between 1990 and 2005 lagged well behind other OECD countries.

“We will redress the neglect of the last twelve years and the discussions I have had to date, culminating in the last roundtable meeting next week in Canberra, will assist in that process.”

Mr Garrett said the Government was already raising the profile of renewable energy with some 1,600 schools around Australia registering to become solar schools and applications for solar rebates continuing at record levels under the Solar Homes and Communities Plan.

“We’ve also announced an efficiency labelling scheme for televisions, which will commence shortly while the 6-star labelling system has also been expanded to 10-stars to identify ‘super-efficient’ appliances.

MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Peter Garrett MP Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

PG /128 29 August 2008

“I look forward to bringing forward further measures and these discussions have been a great opportunity to hear directly from the energy services sector and other stakeholders and will help lay the path for immediate and cost-effective energy efficiency gains.”