News / Asia

Australian Economic Stimulus Also Helps Environment

Under Australia's program, homeowners in older homes who install new insulation get up to $1200 from the federal government
Under Australia's program, homeowners in older homes who install new insulation get up to $1200 from the federal government

Multimedia

Derek Henkle

Nearly a year after the global financial crisis peaked, an economic stimulus program that Australia says was key in easing its recession, is getting attention and praise.   The program is aimed at energy efficiency and has even had an impact on jobs in the United States.

Under Australia's program, homeowners in older homes who install new insulation get up to $1200 from the federal government.  

The program has created jobs, while reducing carbon emissions and cutting electric bills up to 40 percent in each household.

Ross Davidson is spokesman for Australia's Department of the Environment. He says the $2 billion effort is one reason Australia's unemployment rate is half that of the United States. "What we actually found is that not only were jobs being created, there was a lot more confidence in the market... And it is a program that is so simple to duplicate in other economies," he said.

About 19,000 homes a week are getting new insulation, says Davidson, and that's fueling more jobs of all kinds.

Michael Penney is a businessman.  He says his company - which installs ceiling insulation across Australia -- is booming. "We expanded, we put in a mini call center, we employed a couple of girls, put in computer systems, spent some money on advertising, and we employed and trained another approximately, about, 10 people that we've introduced to the industry." 

But production -- specifically of insulation materials --has not kept up with demand.

Paul Pickup is logistics manager at Fletcher Insulation, the country's largest producer of insulation. He says his company found a solution. "So we then looked to Owens Corning, who had plants that didn't have anything to do at this point in time in the States," he stated.

Owens Corning opened a new line at a factory in California to feed Australia's demand. That created at least 150 American jobs--and saved others.

And it's this material, made in Australia and also imported from countries like the United States, which the government here says has created over 25,000 jobs.

Sexy enough to gain the attention of US President Barack Obama. Last month, the president pitched a similar program in his speech at the Home Depot in Alexandria, Virginia. "A lot of people say we can't afford to deal with these emissions to the environment.  But the fact of the matter is energy efficiency is a perfect example of how this can be a win-win," Mr Obama said.

The approach, like Australia's, is to address the economic crisis and at the same time tackle global warming.  Here that will amount to cutting carbon emissions by 30 million tons over the next decade, the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road.

"It makes a lot of sense if it's adding more than just job creation, it's actually adding to the ability for the country to reduce its energy usage as well," Pickup said.
 
Homeowner Steve Kotarac is upbeat. "Well it's a good thing for everybody," he said. "If it's good for the climate, it's good for the people too."

And that has policy makers in Australia and the US hoping people will think pink to go green.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid