CPSA Summer campaign: air conditioning subsidy

THE Minister for Social Housing has responded to CPSA’s letter urging the NSW Government to fit air conditioners in all social housing dwellings located in areas that experience prolonged periods of high temperatures.

The Minister told CPSA that a pilot project was completed in November 2017 that involved retrofitting 273 properties in far western NSW with new, efficient air conditioning units and solar panels to help offset energy costs.

The Government will be fitting a further 600 dwellings with air conditioning and solar panels which will be completed by December 2019.

As a result, all social housing properties located within the isotherm 33 degrees Celsius boundary will have air conditioning. Isotherms are climatic lines related to temperature zones with the data being obtained from the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Isotherm 33 boundary covers most of the far west and north west of NSW. The average January maximum temperature within Isotherm 33 is between 33 and 36 degrees Celsius, with many areas in NSW within this boundary experiencing consistent temperatures in the high thirties and above forty degrees.

Air conditioning for all social housing tenants in the hottest part of the state is a good result and will be welcomed by them.

But this still leaves the vast majority of social housing properties occupied by older people and people with disabilities without air conditioning.

The thing is that people don’t experience average temperatures but real ones. A week or more of above 33 degrees temperatures is common on the coast and it gets even hotter just twenty kilometres inland.

Those are the types of weather events that make older frail people ill.

As one CPSA member pointed out: “You go to any politician’s office anywhere and it’s air conditioned. And they only work there”.

Good point.

Why should frail people on low incomes have to swelter in summer?

CPSA will continue to campaign for air conditioning for social housing properties and also for a means-tested air conditioning installation subsidy for low-income owner-occupiers. If you want to join the campaign, contact CPSA Head Office and find out how you can help.

Now is the time for action, with a sizzling summer coming up followed by the NSW general election in March.