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Too hot: Greens call for urgent extreme heat action

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The Greens are calling for urgent action to address the impacts of extreme heat on renters and in classrooms.

This week’s autumn heatwave, they say, is leaving students in unairconditioned classrooms as well as people living in hot-box rental accommodation, facing health risks.

Greens climate change spokesperson Jenny Leong MP says relief is needed immediately.

“Extreme heat is a serious issue that is having a disproportionate and dangerous impact on renters and students – and it is high time the government stepped in to offer much needed relief,” she said.

“The cost of living crisis and the extreme weather impacts create a highly stressful and incredibly dangerous situation for many who know that their home is exceeding safe heat levels but who also know that they can’t afford to keep the cooling on.

“Parents shouldn’t have to drive their children around in their cars to keep them cool enough to get to sleep – and older people shouldn’t be forced to spend long days in shopping centres in an attempt to avoid the heat.”

The Greens, she says, are committed to implementing minimum energy efficiency standards for all rental homes by 2025 and establishing programs and subsidies to ensure renters are able to access solar.

“We have a plan to introduce measures to reduce urban heat impacts on schools, ensure adequate air conditioning and heating in all classrooms and expand school solar programs and transition schools to 100% renewable energy,” she explained.

“We have heard the calls from more than 700 people, many organisations and housing, environment and energy advocates at the Sydney Alliance Assembly and the experts at the recent ‘Beat the Heat’ health and heat forum – we need to take action to address the real impact heat is having on people’s lives.

“The Greens know that extreme heat is a silent killer and that the impacts are felt disproportionately by those who are already vulnerable, marginalised or facing economic insecurity.”

The NSW Greens Plan to Slash Energy Prices includes a vow to:

  • Oblige landlords to install energy efficiency measures. By 1 July 2028, all rental properties must meet minimum energy efficiency standards (including adequate insulation, draught proofing, double glazing etc). Retrofitting to meet these standards will also be required before 1 July 2028 whenever a tenanted property is sold, a new tenancy agreement is signed or a major renovation over the value of $50,000 is undertaken.
  • Interest-free loans for landlords to comply with minimum energy efficiency standards. Loans would be offered, subject to eligibility criteria and ensuring that there is no financial impact on low-income tenants, to non-commercial landlords until 1 July 2025.
  • Interest-free loans for owner-occupiers of property to improve energy efficiency. Loans would be offered to owner-occupiers of properties with an improved land value of no more than $1.5m to, for example, install insulation or double-glazing.

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