This is the second and final report for the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living research project RP3038, Lower income barriers to low carbon living. The first report, Summary of focus group and survey findings, detailed the findings from our focus group discussions with lower income households across four Australian jurisdictions. This final report focuses on the suggestions put forward by these lower income households during the focus group discussions and the stakeholders during their interviews on how assistance programs relating specifically to low carbon living may be improved. These suggestions were collated, categorised and discussed with policymakers and service providers in four policy workshops in August 2016, the outcomes of which are detailed in this final report. Overall, policy suggestions could be broadly grouped into three categories (information format and distribution, financial assistance, and political will and leadership), encompassing ten topics in total. These categories and topics are included in Appendix 1 and discussed in greater detail later in this report.
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This paper presents preliminary findings of a recent research project on the barriers that lower-income households in four Australian cities – Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart, and Darwin – face in reducing their carbon consumption, and the impact of programs implemented by federal and state governments and support organisations to assist such reductions.
In the global push to lowering our carbon emissions by transitioning to renewable energy production and improving energy efficiency epitomised in the Paris Agreement in 2015, the importance of housing tenure to the adoption of low carbon living, particularly for those on lower incomes, is often not fully appreciated. Lower-income households are more likely to be renters on social benefits, and have limited ability to afford either the normally higher priced energy efficient appliances or access renewables due to the problem of split incentives.
The research reported in this summary of findings identifies the financial and non-financial barriers that prevent lower income households from reducing their carbon consumption.This research is designed as a follow-up to the data mining exercise (CRC-LCL RP3001) conducted by Burke and Ralston.