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Innovation

Software glitch stymies green loans

A software problem in a government assessment tool has resulted in the delay of loan approvals being issued to families to make their homes more green.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor on

A software problem in a government assessment tool has resulted in the delay of loan approvals being issued to families to make their homes more green.

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(Future image by Nathan Siemers, CC2.0)

The government's Green Loans Program was intended to improve household energy and water efficiency by providing free sustainability assessments to around 360,000 households, which would result in $10,000 interest free loans from partnering banks and credit unions to around 75,000 households.

Although the program had an official start at the beginning of July, it was revealed yesterday in Question Time that a problem with the assessment tool's reporting component had meant that while assessments were able to be made, the resulting reports necessary to obtain loans were unable to be issued.

According to deputy leader of the Greens Christine Milne, the problem has meant that three months into the official start of the program, the first green loan has yet to be issued. Since the assessment tool's inception, 17,300 householders have registered for assessment and 7900 assessments have been completed, Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong said yesterday. She did not say if any green loans had resulted from these assessments.

"As we expected, the trial roll-out identified some issues that required small changes to be made to the operation of the calculator, including the reporting function. This resulted in delays in sending out the reports to households until late August," a spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Heritage and the Arts said.

The glitch had been fixed mid August, the spokesperson said, and pointed out that although the reporting function wasn't working, assessors were still able to use the tool to carry out the assessments.

"This is an ambitious and unprecedented program. Its development has involved the building of key sustainability assessment tools and business support systems," Wong said in Question Time yesterday.

Milne reminded Minister for the Environment Peter Garrett that the loans were a 2007 election promise which had already seen delays and had initially been scheduled to start in January this year. She suggested that the government meet its 10-day turnaround promise.

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