New Wood Heater Replacement Program to make the transition more accessible

2022-06-08

ACT Greens Member for Brindabella Johnathan Davis MLA is calling for a trial program to make it cheaper and easier for households to transition from wood heaters to electric heaters. 

“The ACT has some of the cleanest air in the world. However, I have heard from a number of my constituents in Tuggeranong that the smoke pollution that builds up in the valley over the winter months is having a significant impact on asthmatics and those with respiratory issues,” Mr Davis said. 

“Due to our location and topography, as well as the cold weather inversions in winter, Tuggeranong is uniquely susceptible to the challenges of wood smoke. 

“I’ve heard from households who want to transition from wood heaters to electric heaters. Unfortunately, the ACT Government’s current ‘Wood Heater Replacement Program’ provides little incentive to make the switch. With rebates requiring households to have the funds upfront, it is difficult for low-income households to see value in the program.

“It is also the case that some low income households find rebate style programs challenging as they cant afford the upfront payment. 

“I am calling on the ACT Government to establish a trial that removes all upfront costs associated with the transition from wood heaters to electric heaters. This includes removal of the wood heater, purchase and installation of a new reverse cycle unit and the repairs of any property damage associated with the transition. Importantly, such a trial must first be targeted at low-income households. 

“I know there are some in the community who will continue to advocate for a ban on wood heaters, however I believe in a “more carrot, less stick” approach. I’m confident that a trial like the one I’ve proposed strikes the right balance.”

“In November 2021, the ACT Government released the ‘Bushfire Smoke & Air Quality Strategy’. In the strategy, the ACT Government committed that ‘current programs, policies and regulations will be reviewed to ensure they support better air quality’. I‘m calling for this trial to be supported as part of the review of the wood heater replacement program.”