Annexed Report

ACT Heritage Council

Legislative Framework and Functions

The ACT Heritage Council (the Council) is established under the Heritage Act 2004 (Heritage Act) and has the following functions:

  1. to identify, assess, conserve and promote places and objects in the ACT with natural and cultural heritage significance
  2. to encourage the registration of heritage places and objects
  3. to work within the land planning and development system to achieve appropriate conservation of the ACT’s natural and cultural heritage places and objects, including Aboriginal places and objects
  4. to advise the Minister about issues affecting the management and promotion of heritage
  5. to encourage and assist in appropriate management of heritage places and objects
  6. to encourage public interest in, and understanding of, issues relevant to the conservation of heritage places and objects
  7. to encourage and provide public education about heritage places and objects
  8. to assist in the promotion of tourism in relation to heritage places and objects
  9. to keep adequate records, and encourage others to keep adequate records, in relation to heritage places and objects
  10. any other function given to it under the Heritage Act or another Territory law.

Membership

In addition to two permanent ex-officio members-the Chief Planning Executive and the Conservator of Flora and Fauna-a maximum of nine expert members are appointed to the Council by the Minister.

Dr Dianne Firth and Mr Philip Nizette departed the Council in 2017–18. Membership of the Council at 30 June 2018 is:

  • Mr David Flannery (Chair)
  • Dr Kenneth Heffernan (Deputy Chair)
  • Mr Douglas Williams
  • Mr Gary Shipp
  • Prof Nicholas Brown
  • Ms Rachel Jackson
  • Ms Edwina Jans
  • Ms Amanda Evans
  • Ms Gay Williamson
  • Mr Ben Ponton (ex-officio – Chief Planning Executive)
  • Mr Ian Walker (ex-officio – Conservator of Flora and Fauna)

Taskforces

The Taskforce system used by the Council continued to provide opportunities for members to participate in a different projects, and to inform key Council advice prepared under delegation. The Taskforces are structured as follows:

Taskforce

Purpose

Membership

Number of Meetings

Register

The Register Taskforce is responsible for providing recommendations to the Council on provisional registration decisions following detailed research and analysis of places and objects against the heritage significance criteria.

David Flannery

Kenneth Heffernan

Nicholas Brown

Rachel Jackson

Amanda Evans

6

Development Applications (DA)

The DA Taskforce provides advice to the Council about the potential effect of development on heritage places.

David Flannery

Kenneth Heffernan

Rachel Jackson

Gay Williamson

10

Conservation Management Plan (CMP)

The CMP Taskforce advises Council on whether a CMP would ensure conservation and responsible management of a heritage place.

Rachel Jackson

Nicholas Brown

Gay Williamson

Edwina Jans

2

Aboriginal

The Aboriginal Taskforce is the lead taskforce for all matters relating to Aboriginal heritage. The Aboriginal Taskforce provides advice to assist the Council with complex or controversial matters affecting Aboriginal places and objects.

Kenneth Heffernan

Gary Shipp

Douglas Williams

Edwina Jans

3

Meetings

Six Council meetings were held. Papers were also circulated for members to consider matters out of session as part of the means by which the Council conducts its business.

As well as fulfilling legislative requirements in relation to heritage registrations, excavation permits, statements of heritage effect, conservation management plans and in providing advice on development applications referred to it by the planning and land authority, the Council advised the Minister generally on heritage issues in the ACT.

Promotion of heritage awareness

The Council supported a diverse range of activities aimed at promoting and celebrating the ACTs heritage. The largest of these was the 2018 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival. Held from 14 to 29 April with the theme ‘My Culture, My Story’, the annual festival continued to serve as an important vehicle for heritage promotion, awareness and education. Councillors attended a number of the 156 events including the launch and opening of the Artist Society of Canberra exhibition at the Fitter’s Workshop, which had a focus of heritage places as subject matter.

Intergovernmental relations

One meeting of the full Heritage Chairs and Officials of Australia and New Zealand (HCOANZ) was been held. The Chairperson and Council Secretary attended the meeting in Darwin in May 2018. The Council Secretary also co-hosted and attended a meeting of the Officials in Canberra in November 2017. HCOANZ provides for the exchange of information across jurisdictions and the sharing of knowledge, expertise and experiences.

Conserving and promoting Aboriginal heritage

The Council, in conjunction with ACT Heritage, has facilitated numerous heritage assessment and management projects that have achieved Aboriginal heritage conservation outcomes and promoted the ACT’s Aboriginal heritage.

The relocation, conservation and interpretation of an Aboriginal cultural tree felled at Tharwa many decades ago was an important project delivered by the

ACT Government, guided by Council advice and undertaken in consultation with Representative Aboriginal Organisations (RAOs). This cultural tree was moved to the Namadgi Visitors Centre in May 2018, where it will be installed and interpreted to the public to promote and celebrate the Aboriginal culture and heritage of the ACT.

Guided by the Council and ACT Heritage, Aboriginal heritage conservation outcomes were integrated into a range of development projects, such as the expansion of the Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, the ACT Second Electricity Supply Project, the duplication of Horse Park Drive, and urban development within the Molonglo Valley (Whitlam) and West Belconnen (Ginninderry).

The Council decided to register a corroboree ground and Aboriginal cultural area in Majura and Jerrabomberra.

ACT Heritage Register

The Council continued its work in processing the ACT Heritage Register nomination list, which currently stands at 94 places/objects, reduced from 108 at the end of the previous year:

  • 7 nominations were made, with five accepted and two dismissed
  • 18 decisions were made on provisional registration including decisions not to provisionally register
  • 4 decisions were made on full registration.

Nominations accepted to the ACT Heritage Register

  1. The ‘Brick Banks’ at Erindale Skatepark, Wanniassa
  2. Historical Railway Objects
  3. Narrabundah Duplexes, Narrabundah
  4. 40 Donaldson Street, Braddon
  5. Kingston Hotel, Griffith

Nominations dismissed by the Heritage Council

  1. Red Hill School, Red Hill
  2. Trettes, Jervis Bay

Decisions to provisionally register

  1. Barton Highway Road Cut, Nicholls
  2. Tharwa School, Tharwa
  3. 11 Northcote Crescent, Deakin
  4. Signadou and Blackfriars Precinct, Watson
  5. Red Hill Historic Plantings, Red Hill

Decisions not to provisionally register

  1. Red Hill Rutidosis Site, Deakin
  2. Bull Oak Grove near Molonglo Gorge, Kowen
  3. Grassland Earless Dragon Habitat, Jerrabomberra and Majura
  4. Molonglo River to Barton Highway Woodland
  5. Mulligan’s Flat Nature Reserve, Gungahlin
  6. Pale Pomaderris Habitats across the ACT
  7. Austral Toadflax Site near Kambah Pool, Tuggeranong
  8. Tharwa Village Precinct
  9. Pine Island Agglomerate
  10. Canberra Nature Park
  11. Murrumbidgee River Corridor
  12. Narrabundah Duplexes, Narrabundah
  13. Open Systems House (formerly Churchill House), Braddon

Decisions to register

  1. Barton Highway Road Cut, Nicholls
  2. Corroboree Ground and Aboriginal Cultural Area, Queanbeyan River, Majura and Jerrabomberra
  3. Glenburn Precinct, Kowen (further registration)
  4. Tharwa School, Tharwa

One of the Council’s roles is to ensure a wide range of thematic representation on the ACT Heritage Register. During the year, the Council registered an interesting variety of places and objects, including the historic Tharwa School, established at the end of the nineteenth century when legislation enabled small rural schools across the country to be built.

The historic Red Hill Plantings were provisionally registered in May 2018. These are a collection of red flowering bottlebrush and Rosemary Grevillea in the Red Hill Nature Reserve. The plantings are a unique response to environmental, conservation and city design challenges in the early years of Canberra that resulted in the innovative plantings realised by the then Officer in Charge of Afforestation, Charles George Weston.

Strong Aboriginal heritage values were afforded recognition and protection on the banks of the Molonglo River and Queanbeyan River. Assessing the corroboree ground and Aboriginal cultural area enabled the Council to register a large space in this vicinity where a ceremonial Corroboree ground and Aboriginal burial were recorded in the 1860s. This place represents one of the most unique entries on the ACT Heritage Register, and helped fill a thematic gap in the list of registered places and objects in the ACT.

Secretariat support

ACT Heritage continued to provide administrative and secretariat support for the Council and its activities.

ACT Heritage has responsibility as Secretary for the Council. The Secretary has a range of delegations under the Act including those in relation to Heritage Guidelines, the heritage registration process, advice about the effect of development on heritage significance, conservation management plans, restricted information and public consultation, including consultation with RAOs.

Remuneration

Council members are entitled to remuneration as determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal. Remuneration paid to Council members during the year to 30 June 2018 totalled $76,200.

For more information:

Fiona Moore
Secretary, ACT Heritage Council
02 6207 2179
FionaF.Moore@act.gov.au
www.environment.act.gov.au/heritage

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

Conservator of Flora and Fauna

The position of Conservator of Flora and Fauna is a statutory position established by the Nature Conservation Act 2014 (NC Act) with additional responsibilities under the Planning and Development Act 2007 (P&D Act), the Fisheries Act 2000 and the Tree Protection Act 2005.

The Executive Director, Environment in the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, Ian Walker, currently holds the position.

The Conservator acts on issues that affect conservation matters embodied in the NC Act, in particular to protect native plants and animals. The position includes:

  • managing the nature reserve system
  • protecting and conserving threatened species and ecological communities
  • the administration of a licensing system for the taking, keeping, selling, importing, exporting, disturbing, displaying and killing of native plants and animals.

The NC Act requires the Conservator to develop and oversee policies, programs and plans for the effective management of nature conservation and to monitor the state of nature conservation in the ACT.

Action plans and strategies

The NC Act requires the Conservator to prepare an action plan for each species or ecological community that has been listed as threatened under the Act. Action plans contain proposals for the identification, protection and survival of the species or proposals to minimise the effect of processes that threaten the species.

The Native Grassland Conservation Strategy and the associated eight action plans for threatened grassland plants and animals were reviewed and a new strategy released in December 2017. The strategy and action plans provide guidance on the conservation of native grasslands and their component species in the ACT, regardless of tenure and land use.

An updated Aquatic and Riparian Conservation Strategy, with accompanying threatened species action plans, was released for public comment. The strategy’s vision is “Healthy waterways supporting diverse aquatic and riparian flora and fauna, and providing high quality ecosystem services”.

The action plan for the Murray Cod (Maccullochella peelii) was finalised. The plan provides for the protection and appropriate management of the Murray Cod through management objectives and actions intended to maintain the sustainable recreational fishing of Murray Cod and conserve wild populations in the ACT.

A Migratory Species Action Plan was released for public comment and finalised in February 2018. The action plan provides information on 27 internationally-listed migratory birds that are known to visit the ACT, some coming from as far as Japan, China and Siberia. The plan aims to protect, restore and enhance important wetland habitat in the ACT and manage identified threats to important sites and habitat, as well as improve our knowledge about the occurrence and management of listed migratory species.

Land management

The Conservator is responsible for managing public land identified in the Territory Plan in accordance with the management objectives specified in Schedule 3 of the P&D Act.

Planning and development

Under s. 316(b) of the P&D Act, each area of public land identified in the Territory Plan must be managed in accordance with the public land management plan for the area. If the area is a reserve, the public land management plan is a reserve management plan under the NC Act.

Under s. 320 of the NC Act, these plans are prepared by the land custodian and referred to the Conservator for comment. The draft Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan was referred to the new Conservator for comment in 2017–18.

The Conservator has statutory obligations under the P&D Act to comment on, among other things, Territory Plan variations, environmental impact statements and development applications. The Conservator was consulted on four draft variations to the Territory Plan (s. 61) and one scoping request for an environmental impact statement (s. 26 Planning and Development Regulation 2008).

The Conservator made recommendations on three leases (s. 337) and 19 licences affecting public land (s. 303). The Conservator also provided 29 environmental significance opinions (s. 138AB) that proposed development was unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact, allowing the proposals to be assessed in the merit track under the P&D Act.

Licencing

The following licences relating to plants, animals and fish were issued under the NC Act.

Licences

2016-17

2017-18

Keep licences (These licences include the private and commercial keeping of native animals including birds, reptiles, amphibians and a small number of exotic species.)

649

766

Import a non-exempt animal into the ACT

78

141

Export a non-exempt animal from the ACT

73

64

Take native flora and fauna from the wild (These licences are entirely for scientific research.)

78

85

New keep licences to keep a non-exempt animal

111

287

Remove and/or interfere with the nest of a native animal (These licences are entirely related to authorised tree removal and result in the relocation of the nest and animal.)

14

8

Import/export live fish under the Fisheries Act 2000 (These licences are entirely related to the pet retail industry.)

5

3

Other licences relating to reserves (prohibited and restricted activities e.g. motor vehicle in reserve, traps in reserve)

28

16

Licences relating to land – small works

4

23

Tree register

Four individual trees were added to the Provisional Register, and three individual trees and one group of trees were fully registered.

Tree protection

The Conservator is responsible for making decisions on applications to undertake defined tree-damaging activities on trees on leased urban land that meet the criteria for protection in the Tree Protection Act 2005.

Application decisions

2016-17

2017–18

Applications for a tree damaging activity

1991

1988

Number of decisions made

2760

2785

Approvals granted (with conditions)

1045
(174)

1032
(125)

Approvals under urgent circumstances

167

136

Applications not covered by the legislation

152

188

Applications declined

379

405

Reconsideration requests received

29

31

Decisions changed following reconsideration

5

7

Advice provided to the planning and land authority on development applications (s.82)

426

510 (number is for new DAs only (DA amendments and DA reconsiderations not included)

Withdrawn/Closed/General advice

36

59

Not finalised

38

43

ACAT review

None

4

*Note: An Application for a Tree Damaging Activity can relate to more than one tree requiring more than one decision e. g. an application that is received which contains five trees will require five decisions for that one application.

Appointment of advisers

The Tree Advisory Panel provides advice to the Conservator regarding the functions provided under the Tree Protection Act 2005, including applications for approval to remove or otherwise damage a protected tree. The Conservator retained the following people as members of the Tree Advisory Panel:

  • Dr Peter Coyne (Chair)
  • Mr Richard Hart
  • Ms Hayley Crossing
  • Ms Christine Rampling

Investigations

Nature Conservation Act

Investigations were conducted into a range of offences including:

  1. Dogs in reserves: A number of offences were investigated, with two infringement notices issued in relation to incidents of dogs harassing wildlife.
  2. Keeping non-exempt animals: Five non-exempt animals were seized from persons who did not hold an appropriate licence to do so.
  3. Vehicles in reserves: A number of incidents of vehicles being unlawfully operated in reserves were investigated. In one case, the vehicle destroyed a number of seedlings planted in a regeneration area. Five infringement notices were issued for vehicle-related offences with a further matter still under investigation.
  4. Waste dumping: Two directions for information were served as part an investigation into domestic waste dumped in Canberra Nature Park. The investigation is ongoing.
  5. Damage native plant: Five infringement notices were issued to a person damaging and taking native plants from nature reserves.
  6. Damage reserve: A construction contractor was issued with a direction to repair a nature reserve after using the site to store building materials. The contractor was also issued an infringement notice.

Conservation offences

Parks and Conservation Service Rangers and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Rural Patrol have continued their long-standing close working relationship. A number of joint PCS and AFP patrols were conducted with a particular focus on offences in reserves such as hunting, firewood collection and driving on closed tracks. PCS continues to work with the AFP to target anti-social behavior and acts of vandalism.

For more information:

Helen McKeown
Conservator Liaison
02 6207 2247
helen.mckeown@act.gov.au
www.environment.act.gov.au

Report on the operation and administration of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012 for 2017-18

The Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012 (the Act) created the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS). The EEIS requires electricity retailers to achieve energy savings in households and small-to-medium enterprises.

The EEIS is currently legislated until December 2020. An independent review of the scheme was undertaken in 2018, which showed it had been effective in reducing household and business emissions and energy costs and been cost-efficiently delivered with an overall positive benefit–cost-ratio.

The EEIS Administrator is appointed under section 23 of the EEI Act. Section 27 of the Act requires the Administrator to provide an annual report to the Minister on the operation and administration of the Act including:

  1. National Energy Retail Law retailer compliance
  2. the number and type of eligible activities undertaken under the Act.

EEIS Administrator

The EEIS Administrator’s functions include:

  • to establish reporting and record-keeping requirements for electricity retailers
  • to determine obliged retailers’ compliance with their energy savings obligations
  • approving, with or without conditions, and cancelling the approval of abatement providers
  • to approve acquisition of abatement factors
  • to approve codes of practice
  • to prepare annual reports
  • to report to the Minister, at the Minister’s request, on anything relating to the operation or administration of the Act.

The Minister appointed Dr Stephen Bygrave, the Executive Director, Sustainability and Climate Change, as the EEIS Administrator by way of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Administrator) Appointment 2016 from 6 July 2016. Dr Bygrave occupied the position until 27 November 2017.

Acting EEIS Administrator, occupying the position of Director, Energy Markets and Renewables.

As Director of Energy Markets and Renewables, Jon Sibley was first appointed as the EEIS Acting Administrator from 28 November 2017 until 12 January 2018, followed by Daniel Harding on 13 January 2018 until 30 June 2018.

The Administrator is supported by an administration team that includes four officers and a team manager.

Eligible activities and greenhouse gas abatement

The EEIS requires Tier 1 electricity retailers to achieve a targeted level of energy savings by undertaking eligible activities in households and businesses. Eligible activities under the EEIS include building sealing, space heating and cooling, hot water, lighting, efficient appliance upgrades and removal of inefficient appliances.

Since the EEIS started in January 2013, nearly 72,000 households and businesses have participated in the Scheme, including more than 18,000 priority low income households and over 15,500 rental properties. During its first four and a half years of implementation, the scheme had successfully installed more than 1.2 million energy saving items, saving more than 390,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (t CO2–e).

During the year, more than 124,000 energy saving items were installed in 3521 households and businesses, including household activities such as replacement of inefficient space heaters with high efficiency space heaters and decommissioning of refrigerators and freezers, as well as lighting upgrades to help ACT businesses reduce their energy consumption and save money on electricity bills.

New space heating activities were introduced in 2018 and ActewAGL is now offering rebates to replace poor performing gas room heaters with high efficiency electric reverse cycle air conditioners. ActewAGL has also notified the EEIS Administrator of its plans to commence new water heating activities, which consist of replacing gas and electric resistance water heaters with high efficiency hot water heat pumps.

The Energy Efficiency Improvements in Public Housing Pilot Program was initiated in November 2017 as a partnership between ActewAGL and the ACT Government to help low income households reduce their energy consumption and emissions and to save money on gas and electricity bills. The pilot program replaced 240 old, inefficient heaters with new high efficiency systems, including 83 ducted 6-star gas heaters and 157 electric reverse-cycle air conditioners. These heating upgrades will save approximately $4 million on public housing tenants’ lifetime energy bills, reduce energy consumption by 110,000 GJ and reduce emissions by 7900 t CO2–e. Additional co-benefits such as improved health, comfort and helping vulnerable households adapt to a changing climate will also be achieved.

Over the next three years, the ACT Government will invest a further $7 million to improve energy efficiency in public housing. This funding will be used to provide an estimated 2200 highly efficient heaters and hot water units through the EEIS and 1000 Actsmart energy audits and education programs to tenants to help them better manage energy consumption and reduce their energy bills. The program will ensure the most inefficient heating and hot water systems are decommissioned and replaced, maximising the benefits to low income households and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Summary of activities reported for 2017-18

Information on eligible activities undertaken by retailers under EEIS is collected on a quarterly basis by the Administrator. These activities are subject to annual compliance reporting, verification and reconciliation against targets at the completion of a compliance period (noting compliance periods operate in calendar years).

Each activity has an abatement value based on deemed greenhouse gasemissions reductions in tonnes of CO2–e. This represents the abatement an activity is expected to achieve in its lifetime. Abatement values differ from activity to activity. The claimed abatement for all activities from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 was 89,479 t CO2–e. There were 17,799 t CO2–e claimed for priority (low income) households, towards the annual EEIS Priority Household Target of 20%.

Electricity retailers may apply for an acquisition of the abatement factors generated by eligible activities undertaken by another retailer. No applications for the acquisition of abatement factors were received in 2017–18.

The eligible activities reported as having been undertaken from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 are summarised in the table below.

Activity and Description

Energy saving items installed *

2.2 Install a high efficiency ducted gas heater (replace inefficient gas heaters)

844

2.3 Install a specified high efficiency electric room heater

169

2.4 Install insulated space conditioning ductwork (decommission all existing space conditioning ductwork that is connected to an operable ducted heater)

844

4.2 Commercial lighting upgrade-upgrade of building lighting equipment in a business premises by replacing it with more efficient lighting equipment

120,886

5.1 Decommissioning and disposal of refrigerator or freezer-removing a refrigerator or freezer in working order, from a premises and destroying the refrigerator or freezer

1,327

Total

 

124,070

* Data for the first half of 2018 is subject to change when annual compliance period data is officially submitted by retailers in March 2019.

Legislative changes

The Administrator supported the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability to update the following legislative instruments under the EEIS legislation:

  • Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Priority Household Target) Determination 2017
  • Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Regulation 2017
  • Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Determination 2017
  • Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Code of Practice 2017
  • Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Record Keeping and Reporting) Code of Practice 2017
  • Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Administrator) Appointment 2017

A new regulation to extend the classes of priority households commenced on 1 January 2018. These new classes were proposed during consultation to set the 20% Priority Household Target (PHT) for 2018.

In October 2017 the PHT was set to 20% by disallowable instrument for the compliance period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2018, consistent with the 2016 and 2017 targets. The EEIS is in the process of consulting stakeholders on the 2019 PHT.

As part of the legislation updates that came into effect in on 1 January 2018, several sections of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Code of Practice, the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Record Keeping and Reporting) Code of Practice and the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Determination were amended to streamline reporting requirements, reduce duplication and achieve greater harmonisation across schemes such as the NSW Energy Saving Scheme (ESS), South Australian Retailer Energy Efficiency Scheme (REES) and Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET).

Specific changes were made to Activity 4.2 Commercial Lighting to align with changes and updates to relevant national standards, streamline and reduce duplication with other parts of the EEIS codes of practice.

The Building Sealing activities were reviewed, streamlined and updated to harmonise with other jurisdictions, mainly with the VEET Scheme, which introduced a Weather Sealing Activity in July 2017.

The previous six sub-categories of the EEIS Building Sealing Activity were streamlined into two activity sub-types: Door Sealing activities and Window Sealing activities. A third sub-activity was added to reduce air leakage from Ducted Evaporative Cooling Systems by installing evaporative systems covers/outlet covers. This activity was recommended based on Sustainability Victoria testing, which found this to be one of the single largest air leakage reduction measures. The EEIS Exhaust Fan Sealing activity was also reviewed, streamlined and updated to harmonise with VEET’s Weather Sealing Activity.

As a result of the 100% Renewable Electricity Target, abatement for activities that save electricity are all significantly lower because fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2–e) emissions will be avoided for each kilowatt hour of electricity saved. Activities that improve gas efficiency provide greater abatement than activities that save electricity.

Updating the eligible activities is consistent with the objects of the Act because it provides more opportunities for the efficient use of energy, in particular a reduction in business energy use and costs. These legislative changes reflect the ACT’s goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

New activities development

The EEIS expands the range of eligible activities by adding new activities and updating existing activities at the beginning of each compliance year. EEIS stakeholder consultations confirmed business heating and cooling and residential insulation activities as the two highest priority new activities for EEIS to develop. Targeted consultation is underway on proposed new residential insulation activities, business heating, cooling and demand response activities.

Initial analysis suggests these activities will achieve higher abatement in the ACT compared to similar schemes in other jurisdictions as they help reduce the Territory’s natural gas consumption.

Retailer compliance with energy savings obligations

According to the Act, a retailer’s Energy Savings Obligation (RESO) is calculated based on the Energy Savings Target set for a compliance period (calendar year), retailer’s electricity sales and an emissions multiplier. Compliance with energy savings obligations for a compliance period is determined at the end of that period when retailers submit their compliance period reports. The fifth compliance period for the EEIS operated from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017.

There are two tiers of electricity retailers under EEIS.

A Tier 1 electricity retailer is an electricity retailer with at least 5000 customers in the ACT who sells at least 500,000 MWh of electricity to customers in the ACT within the compliance period.

A Tier 2 electricity retailer is a smaller retailer (selling less than 500,000 MWh of electricity to customers in the ACT). EEIS requires retailers to undertake eligible activities in order to meet an energy savings target. Tier 2 retailers may elect to pay an Energy Savings Contribution (ESC) in place of undertaking activities.

There was one Tier 1 retailer and 14 Tier 2 retailers in the fifth compliance period. As the only Tier 1 retailer within the ACT, ActewAGL must achieve a Priority Household Target, which was set as 20% of their RESO for the 2017 and 2018 compliance periods. The EEI Act requires that this percentage of their obligation is delivered in eligible low-income households. According to its 2017 compliance period report, ActewAGL met its PHT for the 2017 compliance period and, based on subsequent quarterly reports, is on track to meet its PHT for the 2018 compliance period.

From the 14 Tier 2 retailers that submitted their compliance period report, 13 elected to achieve 100% of their obligation under the Act by paying an ESC; Energy Australia is the only Tier 2 retailer that delivered activities during the 2017 Compliance Period and opted to meet 98.44% of their RESO by paying an ESC. The value of ESCs collected totalled $2.163 million in the 2017 compliance year.

The Act requires that funds raised must be used in accordance with the Objects of the Act. These funds will be expended through the ACT Budget process to support energy efficiency related activities, such as the administration of the EEIS, Actsmart energy programs and Solar for Low Income Program.

Complaints

One complaint was received by the Administrator during 2017–2018, regarding the eligibility of a rebate under the EEIS.

An energy customer thought the new ducted gas heater installed by the Energy Shop at his premises should be eligible for a rebate. The EEIS Administrator consulted the installers to understand why the customer was not offered the rebate and came to the conclusion that the replaced appliance did not meet the requirements defined by the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Determination for a ‘qualifying existing gas heater’. The Administrator encouraged the customer to contact the EEIS and the Actsmart teams for more information on a range of other energy efficiency opportunities supported by the ACT Government. The Administrator believes this complaint was resolved.

Training of installers

Before an electricity retailer or authorised installer can undertake eligible activities, they must undertake induction training on the EEIS and the individual activities they will be undertaking. This training is provided by EEIS officers. Since the EEIS began in 2013, 86 training sessions have been held, attended by more than 500 installers, most of them from local companies.

EEIS training for 2017–18:

  • 11 EEIS induction training sessions were delivered between July 2017 and June 2018.
  • 68 authorised installers received general EEIS induction training and training on obligations for EEIS activities.
  • 44 authorised installers received specific training to deliver EEIS activities to households that include:
    • replacement of inefficient room heaters with high efficiency electric room heaters (reverse cycle split systems)
    • replacement of inefficient ducted gas heaters with high efficiency ducted gas heaters
    • decommissioning of refrigerators and freezers.
  • 24 authorised installers received specific induction training to deliver lighting upgrades for businesses.

The Administrator also checks evidence of licences and other competency and training requirements under the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement (Eligible Activities) Code of Practice, such as:

Participating households and businesses

From 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, 2231 households and 1290 businesses were reported as having received activities under the EEIS. This included 658 priority (low-income) households.

The table below shows the number of households and businesses that have participated in the scheme since it started in 2013 until 30 June 2018.

Total Households

Total Priority Households

Total businesses

69,672

18,128

2320

EEIS Review highlights

An independent, post-implementation review of the EEIS was carried out in early 2018. It assessed whether EEIS remains appropriate, and how effective and efficient it has been in tackling the original policy problems and scheme objectives. The review process involved considerable stakeholder consultation and analysis, and looked ahead to potential improvements and scheme extensions.

Key results of the EEIS Review:

  • Overall, the EEIS has been effective in reducing household and business emissions and energy costs and been cost-efficiently delivered, with an overall positive benefit-cost-ratio.
  • The EEIS has fulfilled its four objectives: encouraging efficient use of energy; reducing emissions; reducing household and business energy use and costs; and increasing opportunities for priority households to reduce energy use and costs.
  • Lifetime energy savings exceeded 4.5 million GJ by the end of 2017. During 2017, EEIS saved enough energy to power more than 21,000 Canberra households.
  • EEIS has delivered 390 ktCO2-e of lifetime emissions reduction, which is lower than anticipated and previously reported because of the impact of the 100% Renewable Electricity Target (RET) by 2020. This is equivalent to taking 144,000 average Canberra cars off the road for a year.
  • Total lifetime bill savings of $240 million including $180 million to households and $60 million to small and medium businesses. Average weekly savings are $5.65 for participating households and $57 for participating businesses.
  • EEIS has already saved more than $15 million off the energy bills of Canberra’s low income households.
  • Savings from EEIS have been four times greater than the costs of running the scheme.
  • The Review recommended that the EEIS should continue beyond 2020, with amendments to best support the ACT Government’s priorities, including the next Climate Change Strategy.

Customer satisfaction survey of EEIS implementation

Since the EEIS started in 2013 five post implementation and customer satisfaction surveys were administered to both households and businesses. Key findings were consolidated by the EEIS independent review:

  • 61% of participants said they were either unlikely or very unlikely to have undertaken the energy savings activities without the EEIS.
  • 63% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the products installed are helping to reduce energy consumption and bills, which suggests that overall, EEIS is effectively reducing household and business energy use and costs.
  • More than 90% of draught seals were still in place between 8 and 20 months after installation. This suggests that the draught seal activity had a high degree of acceptance and success in delivering energy and bill savings.
  • The vast majority of participant businesses (87%) were satisfied or very satisfied with their lighting upgrade.

These results evidence a very high level of average satisfaction with the services offered under the EEIS.

The information contained in this report has been approved by Gene McGlynn, Acting Administrator under the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012.

For more information contact:

Ms Antonia Harmer
Manager, Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme
02 6207 1923
EPDCorporate@act.gov.au
www.environment.act.gov.au