The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is calling on the government to introduce landlord tax incentives to improve energy efficiency in rental properties.
The measure is one of six policies the body has proposed in order to make energy more affordable for low income households.
ACOSS senior policy officer Andrea Pape said energy efficiency needed to be a key policy to address the impact of rising energy prices.
“ACOSS advocates an energy efficiency policy agenda, which includes direct investment in building and fixture upgrades as well as incentives to stimulate private landlord investment in energy efficiency measures,” she said.
The policy proposals were designed to improve the energy efficiency of low income households, including private rental and social housing dwellings.
“Such investment will improve affordability, climate resilience and health outcomes for current and future building occupants,” Ms Pape said.
"People on low incomes are particularly feeling the burden of rising energy prices, but they lack the capital for energy efficiency upgrades and are more likely to own inefficient appliances.
"Those in the rental market are also often unable to improve the energy efficiency of rental properties. This has resulted in a lower incidence of insulation in low income housing and tenanted properties.”
Ms Pape said government and industry programs had, to date, largely targeted people on low incomes with behaviour change and minor retrofits to help reduce electricity costs.
“While these programs are beneficial, they need to be complemented by measures that deliver over the long term - particularly investments in building and fixture upgrades,” she said.
"Targeted retrofits of the worst performing social housing where health, climate and hardship risks are greatest, should be a high priority. We know that those most at risk from heatwaves are low income people, the elderly and people living with disabilities or health issues.
"We need to build the safety and resilience of our housing stock, and we need to start with the most vulnerable households first. This is a sensible approach in the current fiscal environment, and we urge all sides of politics to commit to action on this important front.”