Home Energy Saver Scheme via Australia’s national No Interest Loan Scheme launched for Australians on low incomes

People on low incomes across Australia will be able to purchase energy efficient products in the second half of this year through the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) run by Good Shepherd Microfinance.

Federal Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins, launched the program today at the Maranoa Heights Community Centre, Kingston where the NILS Network of Tasmania is currently piloting the energy saver loans service along with the Good Money store in Collingwood, a community finance initiative by Good Shepherd Microfinance, NAB and the Victorian Government.

The program is part of the Federal Government’s Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS), which is providing $20.6 million to Good Shepherd Microfinance to enable people to buy affordable energy efficient products, through a subsidy and loan arrangement.

“Many families and individuals across Australia have electricity and gas costs, which form a large part of household bills and add to cost of living pressures,” Minister Collins said.

“These subsidies will make these energy-efficient appliances more affordable, and in the long term will help households cut energy use,” she added.

“This new scheme builds on the Gillard Government’s investment of $50 million under the Home Energy Saver Scheme which over the course of its life will help more than 100,000 low-income Australian households reduce their energy use.”

Adam Mooney, CEO of Good Shepherd Microfinance, said today the program would make a significant difference for people on low incomes who wanted to buy energy efficient goods and save on energy bills but could not afford to.

“Our NILS program, which we deliver in partnership with 260 community organisations, NAB and the Federal Government, is about providing no interest loans up to the value of $1,200 to people on a low income for essential household items. We hope to deliver up to 30,000 loans, for energy efficient items, over the next two years.”

“Enabling people to purchase energy efficient appliances such as fridges, washing machines and heating and cooling systems is a natural and much needed extension of NILS,” he added.

“These subsidies will be offered across Australia. Combined with an online buying service, clients will have access to the best deals in the market. Our NILS providers are being trained in energy efficiency and buying through our Talking Stars program and look forward to welcoming new clients.”

He congratulated the NILS Network of Tasmania and Good Money Collingwood for piloting the initiative, saying demand for the new subsidy and loan scheme was high. This demonstrates a real need and desire by people on low income to play their part in energy efficiency, emissions reduction and save on their energy bills at the same time.

Rick Tipping, Coordinator of the NILS Network of Tasmania said: “As well as being able to expand the great work of NILS to assist people on low incomes in Tasmania, this helps increase home energy efficiency with people saving as much as $100 a year on their energy bills by replacing older energy-hungry fridges.”

Corinne Proske, Head of Community Finance and Development, National Australia Bank stated that: “We hope the subsidies available through the NILS scheme can make a real difference to the lives of thousands of Australians on low incomes, giving them better access to essential household appliances which are energy efficient.”

“For ten years, NAB has been working with Good Shepherd Microfinance and more recently the Federal Government to address financial exclusion in Australia. This is another example of how we are supporting the financial needs of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

To be eligible for the subsidy, the household must purchase the item under the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS). For information, visit: www.goodshepherdmicrofinance.org.au

Good Shepherd Microfinance is Australia’s largest microfinance organisation. We offer a suite of people- centred, affordable financial programs for people on low incomes at different financial stages of their lives. Our aim, together with those of our community partners, is to enable clients to realise their own economic wellbeing, as they define it themselves, through appropriate financial services, in the process feeling valued, accepted and included and in control of their own finances and lives. Our programs have reached more than 100,000 people previously excluded from mainstream banking access to loans and savings. We work in partnership with NAB and the Federal Government.

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