The ACT Greens are disappointed that e-bikes are not included in the state government's Sustainable Household Scheme.
The Scheme provides zero-interest loans of $2,000 to $15,000 to buy energy-efficient products. Approved products include solar panels, battery storage systems, electric heating and cooling systems, hot water heat pumps, electric stove tops, and electric vehicles – but not electric bikes.
Greens MLA Jo Clay thinks e-bikes, e-scooters and e-cargo bikes are genuinely sustainable zero-emission ways to travel, and would be a better inclusion than some of the other products.
“Someone living in an apartment can’t install solar panels; a renter can’t modify their major appliances; and not everyone can afford an electric car, even with an interest-free loan.
“Lots of Canberrans want to do the right thing by the climate, and are struggling to meet their transport costs. An e-bike or e-cargo bike would fix these problems.
“E-bikes are a great way of replacing a car or the second family car. But to get reliable transport, you might need an e-bike with a longer-range battery, or an e-cargo bike that can carry the shopping or a couple of kids.”
Ms Clay proposed to the Legislative Assembly this week that the government should drop the minimum amount to help people obtain an e-bike.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said "reducing the loan amount below $2,000 is not something we will consider,” because the Scheme wass designed for capital-intensive items with 10-year paybacks that delivered significant emission reduction and cost savings."
Mr Barr also expressed concerns that people who could not raise $2,000 might find it difficult to repay a loan.
“We have to be very wary of [those] type of credit arrangements… That’s been a problem with some of the microcredit schemes in the past, and loan shark behaviour … in the private sector.”
Ms Clay responded: “I’m disappointed that Andrew Barr thinks $2,000 is not a barrier. This belief is locking a lot of Canberrans out of a government scheme that would make their lives better and reduce climate emissions at the same time.
“The ACT Greens want people to be able to change their transport habits, and it’s the ACT Government’s responsibility to help them do it.”