An Australian-first green energy program is delivering long-term benefits for Aboriginal families in Dubbo.
More than 150 homes have had solar panels and smart energy management (Eddy) systems installed in the innovative program, to help tenants cut down on their energy use.
Two Aboriginal organisations – Kenjarhy Solar (in conjunction with Solar Professionals) and Murdi Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation (MPREC) – have partnered with the Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) to deliver the unique project.
Sandra Riley has been in her home for 25 years, and had solar panels installed in March.
“My last electricity bill was cut nearly in half – that’s the lowest it’s ever been since I’ve been in this house,” Ms Riley said.
“I’d like to thank the AHO for installing the panels … it’s made a huge difference.”
“For many Aboriginal families, energy bills can be an enormous drain on their finances,” AHO chief executive Shane Hamilton said.
“If we can help provide some relief from this expense we can increase the disposable income for many families and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our tenants.”
But it’s not only the tenants who have benefited from the program.
Six local Aboriginal men, including Hector Hill, Keith Darrigo and Luke McKellar, were hired and trained specifically to deliver the program.
Now they are qualified to install solar panels, and said the program has changed their lives.
“We hadn’t worked in a while, and now we’ve achieved our certificates,” Mr McKellar said.
“It’s good the NSW government is working with Aboriginal organisations like Kenjarhy to employ Aboriginal men like us.”
Now the men were “inspiring” the rest of their community, Mr Hill said.
“It’s good to see us Indigenous out working and supporting our families.”
“We want to thank Brad Draper and Kenjarhy Solar and Solar Professionals and MPREC for getting us back into the workforce.”
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