Funding to help Western Sydney community groups lower power bills

Friday, 04 September 2020

Five community groups in Western Sydney will receive funding to lower energy costs and play their part in helping to reduce Australia’s emissions under the Morrison Government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program.

Community groups in Western Sydney which will receive funding include:

  • Sant Nirankari Mandal Sydney Inc $9,390 (Chifley)
  • St Vincent De Paul Society NSW (Springwood Centre) $12,500 (Macquarie)
  • Sunshine Project For Community Inc $12,500 (Macquarie)
  • The Scout Association of Australia New South Wales Branch (1st/2nd Merrylands Scout Hall) $11,364 (Parramatta)
  • Anglican Church Property Trust Diocese of Sydney (Toongabbie Anglican Church) $12,100 (Parramatta)

Under the Program, 275 not-for-profit community groups have been awarded grants across Australia for energy-saving projects.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, was pleased that community groups received funding and said it would support lowering power bills and emissions in Western Sydney.

“I am pleased to see these community groups receive this funding to support their efforts to lower their impact on the environment and reduce their energy costs,” Senator Payne said.

“During the coronavirus crisis, this funding will help community groups reduce their energy costs so they can continue their important work in our community.

“This package is delivering on the Government’s promises and helping community organisations in Blacktown save on power bills and lower our emissions.”

General secretary of Sant Nirankari Mandal Australia, Mr Vinod Ahluwalia, said the funding was a welcome support in reducing their energy costs and lowering their emissions.

“On behalf of Sant Nirankari Mandal Australia (SNMA) we are very grateful to be recipient of the Energy Efficient Communities Grant 2020/21,” Mr Ahluwalia said.

“The Sant Nirankari Mandal Australia believes in keeping our environment clean with reduction in harmful gases as much as possible by choosing efficient lighting system. We are playing a small part in reducing Global warming by reducing carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the environment.

“By utilising recent advancement made in the Solar lighting technology it has become possible for us to choose and to use Solar lights for our Carpark at the Glendenning Place of Worship. Other energy efficient initiatives taken by SNMA are the use of roof top solar panels, replacing indoor fluorescent lighting with LED light fixtures and use of LED light fixtures for external Security and the Car park at the property.   

St Vincent de Paul Society’s Blue Mountains Regional President, Ms Pamela Nash, was glad to see funding help support their efforts to reduce their emissions and costs and said it would help them continue their support of the local community.

“Vinnies Shops help to reduce landfill waste by selling pre-loved items and recycling excess donations, so it is pleasing to reduce our carbon footprint further thanks to this grant made possible through the government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program,” said Pamela Nash.

“Rooftop solar will also enable us to reduce our electricity costs which in turn will mean we will be able to provide more support to local families, individuals and the homeless who are all doing it tough in the Blue Mountains.”

Sunshine Project’s President, Mr Winton Evers, was pleased with the funding and excited to see it put to good use in the community.

“Sunshine project have managed, with the fantastic help of the Energy Efficient Communities grant program, to procure a Tesla powerwall battery which will effectively not only provide free energy to Gateway, reducing their power bills significantly but, in combination with their solar system, give them energy independence and energy resilience in times of weather events when the grid is down.

“At the beginning of the year, the fires which swept through the Blue Mountains brought the realisation of the notion of energy independence to the fore. As a community organisation, Gateway will now be able to provide an energy source in times of emergency for those needing access to power, thanks to Sunshine Project and the Energy Efficient Communities grants program.

Toongabbie Anglican Church’s Lead Pastor, Reverend Dr Raj Gupta, was glad that the funding would support their energy-saving projects and reduce their emissions.

“We are delighted to be receiving funding under the Federal Government’s “Energy Efficient Communities” program. This funding will be used to install a solar battery to existing solar panels, and enable our church to further reduce our carbon footprint,” Mr Gupta said.

“We thank the Federal Government in for this initiative that will assist community organisations such as ours to utilise more green energy. In addition, the funds that will be saved in electricity costs will be poured back into the community, that we seek to serve.

1st/2nd Merrylands Scout Hall’s Group Leader, Mrs Jeanie Wood, was happy to receive the funding and said it would enable them to reduce their costs and continue to serve their local community.

“1st/2nd Merrylands Scout Hall are delighted to be a recipient of this grant. Installing solar panels will allow us to practice what we preach in terms of environmental sustainability,” said Ms Armstrong.

“By reducing our electricity cost we will be able to continue hiring out our hall to local communities at the lowest cost possible. We are very grateful to Senator Payne for awarding us this grant and would love to invite her to our hall sometime.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said up to two community groups in each federal electorate will receive support for an energy-saving project such as installing a solar PV system, upgrading to more energy efficient equipment or having an energy audit done on their premises.

“Energy bills are often one of the biggest overheads for volunteer organisations, and we want to help ease some of the financial pressures facing our hardworking community groups,” Minister Taylor said.

“These groups are the lifeblood of our towns and regions. The more they can save on running costs, the more they can spend to support their communities.”

The Energy Efficient Communities Program was announced as part of the Government’s Climate Solutions Package in the 2019 Budget.

The program will deliver grants to help businesses and community organisations to improve energy efficiency practices and technologies, and better manage energy consumption to reduce their power bills.

In addition to grants for community organisations, the program will provide $10 million for dairy farming businesses, $9 million for small businesses and $15 million for high energy-using businesses.

Applications are now open for the small business round. Further information on the Energy Efficient Communities Program is available at Businesses that wish to apply for a grant can access the guidelines and application forms at or by telephone on 13 28 46.


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