In 2010, ClimateWorks Australia released the award-winning Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia. The Plan identifies 62 separate opportunities to reduce emissions cross the Australian economy. It maps out a pathway to reducing Australia’s greenhouse emissions by 25% on 2000 levels by 2020 – the minimum that scientists say we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – using existing technological solutions.

The emPower public engagement program has been designed by ClimateWorks Australia to raise awareness and inspire Australia’s business community and householders to capitalise on the opportunities identified in the Low Carbon Growth Plan. It uses a mix of animation, video case studies (available on ClimateWorks' YouTube channel - see below) and a regional outreach program. The animation and video case studies have been produced in partnership with behaviour change and communications experts, The Shannon Company.

Funding for the Empower program was provided by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (now the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education).

If you would like to hear more about emPower, or want to receive the emPower DVD, please contact us.


The animation

The main animation features a character named CP (short for carbon particle) who takes viewers through the ins and outs of the Low Carbon Growth Plan in easy-to-understand language. Just like carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, CP has a dual nature: sometimes good and sometimes bad. In moderate quantities he can be good (Dr Jekyll); in large quantities he turns bad (Mr Hyde).

For the 14 minute YouTube animation, click here

For the shorter 4 minute YouTube version, click here


Video case studies of real people putting the plan into action

Three video case studies have been produced for the program, profiling real Australians implementing activities from the Low Carbon Growth Plan to save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The case studies feature a family household, a small business and farmers.

The Householders:

Stephen Nugent and Fiona Hawke, Orange, NSW

Stephen and Fiona have been taking measures to increase their energy efficiency and reduce their energy bill. This includes upgrading their big appliances to the most energy efficient versions of their type, and turning down their thermostat. Stephen and Fiona have reduced their energy usage and in so doing, created some protection for themselves against rising energy bills. They were supported in this by CSIRO’s Energymark program which in NSW is being run in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

To view the YouTube clip, click here

The Small Business:

Tony McManus, PRD Nationwide, Geelong, Victoria

PRD Nationwide Real Estate in Lara is an award-winning small business managed by Tony McManus. Tony and his team have implemented many energy efficiency measures to save money and reduce emissions. This includes simple actions like turning down the air conditioning and heating, installing auto timers on light switches, changing from one-sided printing to two-sided and making sure lights are turned off if a room is empty. Switching to two-sided printing helped the business halve their printing load and reduced energy consumption on that machine by 30%. The business has also seen positive spin-off effects in terms of marketing, as it became known for being environmentally-friendly, and improvements in staff productivity and morale.

To view the YouTube clip, click here

The Farmers:

Bob and Anne Davie, Bimbadeen Angus & Brangus Farm, Ventnor, Victoria

Bob and Anne Davie run a cattle farm on Philip Island. Bob and Anne have implemented many activities to reduce greenhouse emissions and increase the farm’s productivity. They have planted a total of 45,000 trees to date and plant 2,500 trees annually. They are also part of the Carbon Farmers of Australia and are attempting to sequester carbon back into their paddocks.

To view the YouTube clip, click here


The Regional Outreach Program

The accompanying regional outreach program was rolled out across five regions in Australia:

  • South East Melbourne, Victoria
  • Toowoomba, Queensland
  • Gippsland, Victoria
  • Brisbane, Queensland
  • Ryde, NSW

The program involved presentations to small business owners and the community at local events in each region, and a train-the-trainer session designed to help people give the same presentation to their friends, colleagues and community.

Facts sheets on the opportunities in the Low Carbon Growth Plan for Australia that are applicable in each region were produced to accompany the local presentations.


Further resources

More information and support is available at these sites:

Clean Energy Future
The Clean Energy Future website is the Federal Government’s comprehensive guide to the Clean Energy Act 2011 and the support available to households and businesses. 
See in particular www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au

Grant Finder
Grant Finder lists a range of Federal, state and territory grants, with a focus on business. 
Find information on www.business.gov.au

Living Greener
The Living Greener website is full of tips and information on how to save energy, save water and reduce waste at home, as well as information on smarter travel options. It also allows you to search for rebates and assistance available in your state or territory for home improvements that save energy and water. 
Find information on www.livinggreener.gov.au

Enterprise Connect
Enterprise Connect offers comprehensive advice and support to eligible Australian small and medium-sized enterprises to reach their full potential and conduct business sustainably. 
Find information on www.enterpriseconnect.gov.au

Australian Greenhouse Calculator (AGC)
The Australian Greenhouse Calculator helps households explore how their lifestyle is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and to identify ways to reduce them. 
Find information on www.epa.vic.gov.au

Energy Efficiency Exchange
A joint initiative of Australian, State and Territory governments, the Energy Efficiency Exchange website brings together information on energy efficiency in one central location and assists Australian businesses to implement energy efficiency practices. 
Find information on www.eex.gov.au

Funding and support

Funding and other support is available to help you implement many of the activities from the Low Carbon Growth Plan:


Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC)
The CEFC will assist firms and projects to overcome capital market barriers that hinder the financing, commercialisation and deployment renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies. The program will invest in firms and projects to utilise low emission technologies as well as manufacturing businesses that focus on producing the inputs required for these technologies. The CEFC will assist in financing only and will provide commercial loans, concessional loans, loan guarantees and equity – it does not provide grants. Projects are intended to be commercially oriented and to make a positive return on its investments. 
Find more information www.cleanenergyfinancecorp.com.au 

Clean Energy Skills Program
The Clean Energy and Other Skills Package will invest up to $32 million over four years to enable tradespeople and professionals in key industries to develop the skills needed to deliver clean energy services, products and advice to Australian communities and businesses. Skills development will be provided for facility managers, engineers and financial managers. 
Find more information on www.deewr.gov.au

Clean Technology Focus for Supply Chains
This program aims to enhance the clean technology aspects of existing business development and facilitation programs – including the Supplier Advocate and Enterprise Connect programs. The program will invest $5 million in funding over four years. The program is focused on small to medium enterprises, particularly firms in the clean technology sectors, water technology firms, fabricators or manufacturing service providers. The fund also targets companies that wish to improve their competitiveness in the clean technology sector. 
Find more information on www.innovation.gov.au

Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program
This program provides financial assistance for food and metal manufacturing industries who want to invest in energy efficient equipment and low pollution technologies, processes and products. Grants will be available to businesses, as well as companies controlled by universities and public sector research organisations. Funding will be based on a co-investment basis of $3 for each $1 of government funding. The minimum grant size will be $25,000. 
Find more information on www.ausindustry.gov.au

Clean Technology Investment Program
The Clean Technology Investment Program provides grants for manufacturing businesses to invest in energy efficient capital equipment and low-emissions technologies, processes and products. Larger energy users are eligible and must have an annual electricity consumption of at least 300 megawatt hours or 5 terajoules of natural gas. Alternatively, they must be directly liable under the carbon pricing mechanism in the year prior to application. The minimum grant size is $25,000 with a required co-investment of $3 for each $1 granted. 
Find more information on www.ausindustry.gov.au

Community Energy Efficiency Program – Low Carbon Communities
applications are currently closed, and applicants are currently being assessed
This program provides support to local councils and community organisations to undertake energy efficiency upgrades to council and community-use buildings, facilities and lighting. Minimum grants range from $20,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the region. Grants must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis. 
Find more information on www.climatechange.gov.au

Low Income Energy Efficiency Program – Low Carbon Communities
applications are currently closed, and applicants are currently being assessed
Funding through this program is available to trial approaches to improve the energy efficiency of low income households and enable them to better manage their energy use. Grants are available to consortia of government, business and community organisations. The trials may vary in scale with a maximum grant of up to $10 million available. 
Find more information on www.climatechange.gov.au

Energy Efficiency Information Grants
This program provides funding for organisations to deliver information on energy efficiency to small to medium businesses and community organisations, to enable them to respond to the impact of increasing energy costs. Industry associations, professional institutions and non-profit organisations that are engaged with SMEs and/ or community organisations are eligible to apply. Grants range from $100,000 to $1 million. 
Find more information on www.climatechange.gov.au


Home Energy Saver Scheme
Nineteen not-for-profit organisations have been appointed to deliver this scheme, which aims to assist low-income households to find more sustainable ways to manage their energy consumption. The scheme also provides additional funding for the No Interest Loans Scheme.
Find more information on www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au

LPG Vehicle Scheme
Grants are available through this scheme for the LPG conversion of a registered motor vehicle or the purchase of a new vehicle fitted with LPG prior to first registration. Any light vehicle (less than 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass) not already using LPG is eligible. The grant amount for LPG conversions completed between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 is $1250 and $1000 to June 2014. A $2000 grant is available for new vehicles fitted with LPG after manufacture but before first registration. 
Find more information on www.ausindustry.gov.au

Renewable power incentives
Households across Australia installing; a small scale solar, wind or hydro renewable electricity system or; a solar or heat pump hot water system; may be eligible for a benefit via Small-scale Technology Certificates and Solar Credits.
Further information on www.livinggreener.gov.au

State and territory incentives
A range of programs and incentives are provided by specific state and territory governments. These can be located by using the Living Greener website search tool, available via www.livinggreener.gov.au


Action on the Ground as part of the Carbon Farming Futures
This program provides funding to support on farm trials of abatement and sequestration technologies and practices. Landholders as well as other organisations, institutions and consortiums are eligible to apply. Funding ranges from $55,000 to $605,000 depending on the length of the project. 
Find more information on www.daff.gov.au

Biodiversity Fund
This program supports projects that establish, restore, protect or manage biodiverse carbon stores. Grants are targeted towards individual land managers, groups of land managers working in partnership or organisations working on behalf of multiple land managers. Generally, the maximum available per year is around $500,000. There is no minimum. 
Find more information on www.environment.gov.au

Carbon Farming Initiative (Kyoto compliant)
This program provides saleable credits for each tonne of carbon pollution stored or reduced on the land in accordance with approved Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) methodologies. CFI methodologies stipulate the rules to create eligible credits. Methodologies can be developed and proposed by private project proponents, as well as government agencies. The price received for the credits is dependent on market forces determining the carbon price. 
Find more information on www.climatechange.gov.au

Carbon Farming Initiative (non-Kyoto Carbon Fund)
This program provides government payment for non-Kyoto activities such as soil carbon projects. The price is dependent on a competitive auctioning process. 
Find more information on www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au

Carbon Farming Skills
This program provides accreditation for carbon brokers and aggregators . It also provides workshops for extension officers, catchment authorities and rural service providers. Support agencies such as carbon brokers and catchment authorities are eligible to apply. 
Find more information www.climatechange.gov.au

Filling the research gap as part of the Carbon Farming Futures
This program provides support for research into emerging abatement technologies, strategies and innovative management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, increase soil carbon and enhance sustainable agricultural practices. Applicants must be an Australian company, business, research organisation, government agency or department. Within the funding limits of the program, there is no individual limit on the amount of funding a project may apply for. 
Find more information www.daff.gov.au

Refundable tax offset for new conservation tillage equipment as part of the Carbon Farming Futures
A refundable tax offset is available for new equipment to adopt conservation tillage practices. A 15% refundable tax offset is available for new eligible conservation equipment installed and ready for use between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2015. 
Find more information www.daff.gov.au