An Australian first program aimed at helping Aboriginals stay on top of their energy bills is being piloted in Victoria.
The Koorie Energy Efficiency Project (KEEP) launched today, aims to help at least 4,500 members of Victoria’s Aboriginal community over three years.
The pilot program will provide 1500 home visits as well as community education services for an additional 3000 members of Victoria’s Aboriginal community.
A range of practical strategies to curb rising energy costs and improve home and community energy efficiency will be provided, while a number of tailored, educational tools will be tested to help bring energy costs down.
The program, delivered by Aboriginal organisations for Aboriginal people, employs six Aboriginal energy advisors and a further six Aboriginal employees in management and administration roles.
The federal government has committed over $5.5 million to support KEEP, to be delivered by an innovative partnership model comprising a range of Aboriginal and non-aboriginal organisations.
Kildonan UnitingCare will lead the partnership, with CEO Stella Avramopolous anticipating the program will result in significant savings for low income households.
Research on similar programs we’ve conducted shows after a single home visit by an energy advisor, the average household goes on to save approximately $340 a year on energy bills.
The KEEP Partnership also comprises the Aborigines Advancement League (AAL), Ngwala Willumbong Co-operative, the Victorian Aborigines Child Care Agency (VACCA) and the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre (CUAC), whose report originally identified a number of barriers excluding Aboriginal participation in the energy market, creating disadvantage and affecting Aboriginal health and wellbeing.
It is ultimately hoped the project will lead to a broader understanding of the issues and experiences faced by Aboriginal households when dealing with the energy market, and that the learnings and benefits can be rolled out to Aboriginal communities across Australia.
For media enquiries contact: Jane Calvert, Kildonan UnitingCare 0403 603 125, firstname.lastname@example.org