The new Roadmap for Clean and Affordable Energy for All was recently endorsed by over 135 community leaders from Filipino, Middle Eastern Christian, Jewish, Vietnamese, South Asian, Muslim and Pacific Island communities.
In the months leading up to a recent Sydney Alliance conference, organisers listened to stories from community members about their experience with expensive energy bills, bullying from energy retailers, living in energy inefficient properties, inadequate solar feed in tariffs (buy back rates), legal challenges against them, and the physical impacts of climate change in their countries of origin.
A Filipino single mother confessed that she hasn’t been able to turn on the heater during the colder months and a young Jewish student hasn’t been able to move out from her parent’s home because of unaffordable housing and electricity, so she has to commute long distances to her university.
Organizers then prepared the Roadmap for Clean and Affordable Energy for All, which was endorsed on the day by the motivated migrant community leaders.
The Roadmap aims to fix the system by putting energy affordability back on the government’s agenda and to build a clean energy future NOW. Specifically, the Roadmap calls for:
- Community Energy Hubs: connecting communities with energy services; providing coordination, experts and funding for clean energy programs; and increased energy literacy in the language that people need.
- Solutions for renters: government to set standards and incentives for landlords (for example, financing solar panels through property rates, grant schemes, and mandatory energy efficiency and rooftop solar standards for rental properties).
- Solutions for public and Community housing: a program to retrofit and upgrade existing dated housing; financing for new properties to meet energy efficiency standards; and properties powered by cheap renewable energy.
- Government Assistance Program reform: electricity bill rebates that are proportional to the bill and size of household; promotion of rebates to people that of need; and a long-term strategy for reducing electricity bills (for example, the swapping of energy inefficient appliances).
- Government owned not-for-profit retailers to provide affordable electricity (and push down all retailers’ pricing); and to provide renewable energy as much as possible.
- Financing community solar: Community Energy Hubs can coordinate bulk-buying of solar panels and equipment so that individual purchase price is lower.
The leaders from the 7 migrant communities and Voices for Power campaign allies publicly committed to attend community organising training, meet with campaign leaders to learn more, join the research action or political engagement teams, lead conversations with community members or meet with decision makers over the next year.
It is clear that the Voices for Power campaign is being successfully lead by ethnically and culturally diverse leaders to find solutions to energy price and climate change problems confronting the members of their communities.
More information about the Voices for Power campaign can be found on the Sydney Alliance website.