Northern Grampians Shire Council is trialling new and innovative approaches to assist residents on an aged or disability pension to better manage their energy use and reduce costs.
The project, Innovation and Opportunities in Energy Efficiency for Disadvantaged Members of Our Community, has received funding of $545,800 from the Australian Government's Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP).
Improving energy efficiency is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reduce energy costs. The 40 households participating in the project face specific barriers that make their involvement in energy efficiency initiatives more difficult.
These barriers may include a lack of knowledge and understanding around the issue, financial capacity, and technological literacy.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin said rising energy costs were a problem for everyone but particularly for those who can least afford it.
"We welcome this opportunity to work with the Australian Government and local health and community care organisations to help some of the more vulnerable members of our community lower energy costs and enjoy better heating and cooling in their homes," he said.
"This project furthers commitments from our Council Plan and Sustainable Living Strategy toward the wellbeing and welfare of residents, and more efficient resource use."
The project is being run in partnership by the Northern Grampians Shire Council Home and Community Care team, McCallum Disability Services, Grampians Community Health, Pinnacle Incorporated and the Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership.
These organisations will provide expertise and advice to the project that will ensure the appropriate and effective engagement of participating households, as well as sitting on the project's steering committee.
Apart from directly benefiting individual households who participate in the project, the project will also build a useful body of knowledge that can be transferred across the wider sector and be used to inform future government policy and strategy.
The project will run until March 2016. For more information, please contact Kevin Spence at Northern Grampians Shire Council on 5358 8700.