The Green Start, launched this week by the Australian Government, aims to help the most disadvantaged households reduce their bills and help them cope with the impacts of climate change.

Funding of $130m has been put aside to improve utility efficiency and increase awareness of energy and water efficiency information and programs.

A spokesman for the scheme said: “From 2011 to 2012, a package of direct cash assistance and tax offsets will ensure low-income households receive additional support, above indexation, to fully meet the expected overall increase in the cost of living from the scheme, and that middle-income households receive additional support, above indexation, to help meet these costs.

“Low income households and disadvantaged communities are likely to bear the impacts of climate change disproportionately.

“On average, low income earners spend a greater proportion of their total weekly household budget on energy and water than wealthier households.

“The quickest, easiest and most effective way we can tackle climate change, help Australians take control of their energy use and power bills, and make homes more comfortable is improving household energy efficiency.

“We have a number of energy efficiency programs that are already helping hundreds of thousands of Australians live greener and smarter, for example the Home Insulation Program and rebates for solar hot water systems.

“However, sometimes it’s the very people who can benefit the most from these programs who have the most difficulty in participating.”

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Luke Walsh

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