Victoria heavily relies on 'natural' gas, which poses a significant threat to our climate goals, health and household budgets. We must urgently phase it out.

The Victorian government has made a good first step by banning gas connections to new homes. But that’s just the start, many of us already have polluting, expensive and harmful gas appliances in our homes. We need a plan that gets everyone off gas and doesn't leave anyone behind.

Powering Change Report

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During October and November of 2023, ACF Community Geelong undertook the “Powering Change” campaign - a study of community perspectives on the energy transition and the challenges that households face in their energy needs.

During this period 269 surveys were taken, with the help of volunteers at community events, markets, community centres and online. This work has a substantial body of data relating to community concerns about household energy usage (particularly fossil gas) and desires for government support towards electrification and increased energy efficiency in homes.

Survey data was captured across the Geelong region amongst people in a variety of living situations (75% homeowners, 20% renters, 2% social housing, 3% other) which is close to representative of the breakdown in tenure types in Geelong.

Renters are struggling to remain comfortable in their homes. 54% reported being uncomfortably cold in their homes during winter. One tenant stated that they ‘feel like they live in a tent,’ due to lack of insulation and air gaps. 40% of renters reported feeling uncomfortably hot in their homes during summer.

Ehren and Clarrie are Norlane renters living in a 1950’s commission home rental where the, ‘efficiency of heating and cooling is really poor.’ Ehren expressed that the, ‘heat is unbearable and the cold is debilitating.’ Clarrie stated he, ‘chooses not to heat the house because it’s too expensive.’ Ehren experiences a high level of stress in paying his energy bills and expressed that ‘the real estate agents say they will change things and it never happens ... they don’t take it seriously enough.’

The majority of people surveyed are concerned about gas use, with climate pollution and rising gas bills being points of greatest concern.

The rising cost of gas and energy bills is having an impact on our community. One Geelong resident mentioned that their gas bill has, ‘nearly tripled in the last 12 months.’ 39% of people expressed a ‘high’ to ‘extremely high’ level of stress in paying their energy bills, while 1 in 5 renters reported that cost prohibits them from adequately heating/cooling their homes. 33% of people indicated they feel unable to make decisions to manage their energy use at home for reasons including: cost, confusion, lack of information and not owning the property.

The majority of people supported our list of proposed policy proposals with 81% asking for financial support for households for electric appliances and energy efficiency measures. 81% of people are supportive of Victoria investing more in energy efficiency.

The data collected during the ‘Powering Change,’ campaign demonstrates the need for government intervention to support this energy transition, as well as the strong desire from the community for this support. We will advocate for these policy solutions with other member organisations of the Real Deal in Geelong.