Federal funding available for council facility energy upgrades

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann with Somerset Regional Councillors Kylee Isidro and Jason Wendt, and council CEO Andrew Johnson, who attended last year’s Australian Council of Local Government forum in Canberra, where new funding was first announced for energy upgrades at community facilities. PHOTO: SHAYNE NEUMANN

The Federal Government has opened Round 1 of the $100 million Community Energy Upgrades Fund to help deliver energy upgrades and savings for community facilities in Ipswich and the Somerset Region, including public swimming pools, libraries, sporting clubs and community centres.

Ipswich City Council, Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Somerset Regional Council can now apply under Round 1 of 2 for co-funding.

In total, the Fund could help unlock more than $200 million in high-impact upgrades, and the grants could help community facilities to lower their energy use and costs.

One-off grants of between $25,000 and $2.5 million will be available to councils across Australia, enabling them to invest in energy-saving measures, such as replacing swimming pool heating systems with electric heat pumps, battery storage at sporting fields, and installing electric vehicle chargers for council fleets.

These grants are part of the $1.7 billion Energy Savings Package and are part of the government’s commitment to deliver more affordable, cleaner energy to more Australians.

Round 1 applications are open until 30 April 2024.

Grant guidelines and applications are available at business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/community-energy-upgrades-fund-round-1

Grants will be awarded on merit after the close of applications.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said he wanted facilities that Australians know and love, like cricket grounds and local pools, to be able to make long overdue energy upgrades they need that will help them save on energy bills, freeing up funds for other critical community investments.

“By co-funding energy upgrades, the Albanese Government is delivering the long-term investments we need to deliver cheaper, cleaner energy for the long-term,” Mr Bowen said.

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister said local governments were on the frontline of combating climate change, which is why the Federal Government was partnering on major projects to save energy and decarbonise public facilities.

“By helping local governments decarbonise their operations, these projects can help drive the installation of energy efficiency and electrification technology across the economy, and make a real difference on the path to net zero,” Mrs McAllister said.

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann welcomed the opening of Round 1 of the Community Energy Upgrades Fund and said the new funding would help put downward pressure on councils’ power bills.

“I strongly encourage Ipswich City Council and Somerset Regional Council to apply for funding through the Community Energy Upgrades Fund.”