Shadow energy minister Lily D'Ambrosio

The Victorian Labor Party has committed to re-establishing the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target, which the incumbent Coalition government is intent on axing.

The Victorian government was criticised by those in the energy efficiency sector earlier this year for announcing the end of the VEET, a move the government said would save households money on bills. The modelling, however, was later called “dodgy”, with the benefits of scrapping the target shown to largely accrue to electricity companies.

However, in parliament yesterday Labor moved amendments to the government’s Statute Law Amendment (Red Tape Reduction) Bill 2014 to prevent the VEET target being cut next year and the abolition of the scheme at the end of 2015.

A release from shadow energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed today [Thursday] that Labor would “save the VEET”, with details of how the scheme would operate under Labor to be released before the election.

“If Labor blocked the legislation, the scheme would have ended, but if Labor’s amendments pass, the scheme gets extended,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

The Energy Efficiency Certificate Creators Association welcomed Labor’s commitment, saying that more than 1.4 million households and businesses had benefitted from the scheme over the past five years.

Dropping the scheme, EECCA president Bruce Easton said, would cost over 2000 jobs, hit households and businesses, and discourage take up of energy efficiency activities in Victoria.

Mr Easton said the EECCA wanted to see the program continue to its intended closing date of 2029 as well as be strengthened “so that more Victorian households and businesses can benefit from the take up of energy efficiency activities”.

“Victorians want to be energy efficient; they want to install energy efficient lighting, heating, insulation and appliances,” Mr Easton said.

“Scrapping VEET, which is saving more than one million Victorian households and businesses over $100 a year each and making us more energy efficient, just doesn’t make sense.”

The Energy Efficiency Council also supported the move.

“We congratulate the Victorian Labor party for standing up for households and Victorian jobs,” EEC chief executive Rob Murray-Leach said. “Lily D’Ambrosio is making the right call in trying to amend the government’s legislation. If the Napthine Government doesn’t accept these amendments, Labor is right to pass the government’s bill now and extend the VEET if they win the election.”

The VEET scheme was established in 2009 to assist households and businesses in Victoria reduce energy consumption.