ACT News


Simon Corbell urges Canberrans to swap wood heaters for gas systems

With the ACT's hottest summer on record just finished, the government has turned its attention to winter and begun another crackdown on Canberra's wood heaters.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell has again launched the ACT's annual wood heater replacement program, in the hope of reducing air pollution in Canberra.

ACT residents who trade in their wood heaters for ducted gas systems will pocket an $800 rebate, while home owners who replace them with flue gas installations get $600.

Over recent years the number of wood heaters in ACT households has been dropping sharply.

According to ABS statistics, in 2008 there were about 5000 wood heaters in Canberra homes, or about 3.9 per cent of all households.

In 2011, that had dropped to about 3000 territory-wide.


Mr Corbell said in a statement the program was an important way for individual households to help protect the environment.

''Although it's still summer, making the change now to a more efficient natural gas heating system will help people prepare for winter,'' he said.

Mr Corbell said the fine particulate matter released by wood heaters could be detrimental to health and air quality.

He said although the ACT's air quality was among the best in the world, there was still a particulate problem in winter, especially in Tuggeranong Valley.

A spokesperson for Mr Corbell said air quality in the ACT had improved significantly over the past decade, partly due to the government's wood heater removal program.

But the latest air quality report released in July 2013 showed the annual level of small particles in Canberra's air had increased since 2009.

In addition, the ACT government's push to remove wood heaters still has not extended to banning them from new homes.

The installation of such heaters has been prohibited in Dunlop, east O'Malley and Molonglo Valley only, although new wood heaters are required to be energy-efficient models that produce less emissions.