The rental generation is in full flight and while the notion is perhaps truer in Australia’s metropolitan centres, a significant proportion – roughly a third – of those across Victoria rent.
Which makes the state government’s latest solar spruik seem a little unfair.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the Solar Homes program on Sunday, which has created a 50 percent rebate for solar panels for owner-occupiers.
It’s available to Victorians with a household income of up to $180,000, who live in their own home, valued at up to $3 million.
In essence upfront costs of $4450 for a medium-sized solar system would be paid by the state government.
Half the money would then be repaid, minus interest, to the state over four years, which, the government says, will allow families to save $890 a year on electricity bills.
The government also estimated the program would see solar panels installed on 650,000 homes over ten years.
According to data from the 2016 census, 35.3 per cent of Victorians owned a house with a mortgage. A further 32.3 per cent owned their houses outright, while 28.7 per cent across the state rented.
It could be argued that helping renters pay to install solar panels on houses they don’t own is counter-intuitive.
I don’t claim to have a solution to the problem, but what I do know is that everyone gets electricity bills, regardless of whether they rent on own a property.
The state government has policies in place to encourage home ownership.
In the middle of last year it doubled the first home owners grant to $20,000 for those building new homes.
Changes to stamp duty were also introduced, removing the transaction tax on established homes worth up to $600,000.
The Opposition is yet to provided a policy or promise of their own, but St Vincent de Paul’s energy specialist Gavin Dufty told Fairfax Media that renters, apartment dwellers and other groups would end up subsidising wealthier households through the generous solar feed-in tariffs.
- William Vallely, Reporter
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