Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Too important to fail

"The Green Loans Scheme is an excellent idea that has turned into an utter debacle through gross mismanagement by Peter Garrett's department," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said on the 4th of February. You've probably seen or heard more about the issue in the media (a quick web search will bring up lots of recent print news stories and electronic media transcripts).

Energy Imaging, and many of our colleagues in the energy efficiency sector, have been involved in Green Loans since the beginning. It was an excellent idea. Debacle is now a fair description. Frustrating, infuriating, mindbogggling and unfair are other words that spring to mind. The program still has big potential but it will take a serious overhaul by DEWHA, and the creation of genuinely level playing field for assessors, to make it work effectively and fairly.

The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA), a national not-for-profit association, is the Approved Accrediting Organisation for the Green Loans Program. The program is managed by the Federal Government. Unfortunately due to DEWHA's unresponsiveness, many assessors are venting their frustrations at ABSA. ABSA are working hard to support asssessors and it would be sad to see them used as the scape goat in this mess.

Assessors are finding themselves the target of participating householders' frustrations. Unable to make bookings, yet to receive their reports, and waiting in ridiculously long queues on the DEWHA hotline, members of the public are, understandably, venting their frustrations at assessors. As the public face of the GL program, the reputations of dedicated and ethical assessors are being tarnished and the credibility of Australia's energy efficiency sector damaged.

ABSA are currently collecting ideas on ways to improve the GL Program. All assessors are encouraged to direct their ideas to by Friday 19 February 2010.

Senator Milne referred the matter to the Auditor General on the 4th of February and asked some important questions at senate estimates last week. Read more here.

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