COVID-19 Energy Bill Support Education for Aboriginal Households
This project helped Aboriginal consumers receive information about managing their energy bills when COVID-19 first hit. Fourth&Centre commissioned Aboriginal artist Jasmine Craciun to create a shareable poster featuring original artwork and messaging designed specifically for the Aboriginal community.
The poster invited people to reach out to their energy retailer if paying bills became difficult. The poster also encouraged people to find a better deal, seek out Government rebates and ask about hardship support.
The poster was ultimately shared by 200+ Aboriginal organisations on social media, and printed copies were distributed to Aboriginal support centres when their physical offices reopened after restrictions were relaxed. The poster then became the basis to conduct one to one support for people when facing energy bill difficulties in the midst of economic hardship caused by COVID-19.
This project demonstrates the power of tailored, relevant and timely information for consumers, and has been selected as a Great Grant because it shines as an example of best practice consumer communication.
Evaluation of the NSW Government’ Hydropanel Program
The Hydropanel Program is an initiative of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office (AHO) that saw the installation of 797 hydropanels to AHO and community-owned properties in remote, drought-affected areas within NSW. The Program focused on producing clean, reliable, free drinking water for tenants.
Fourth&Centre carried out an evaluation of the program in 2020.
Review of the NSW Government’s Spectacles Program
The NSW Spectacles Program is the NSW State Government’s optical aid subsidy scheme that provides free optical aids, as required, to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in NSW via a network of approved participating optometrists and optical dispensers.
The Program has been administered by an external organisation, Vision Australia, since June 2014 at which time it was re-launched with a new operating model.
Fourth&Centre carried out a Review of the new operating model of the NSW Spectacles Program. This Review considered information gathered in 2019 from sources including providers, government agencies and industry peak bodies. The findings of the Review will inform the NSW State Government’s consideration about investment in the Program over the next five years.
Connected Homes Project
Fourth&Centre developed a one-stop-shop education program targeting vulnerable utility consumers to help them to comprehensively answer the question: “What do I do if I find myself struggling to pay my household utility bills?”. The program had two elements:
- Connected Homes Training Sessions: Fourth&Centre hosted three group training sessions in partnership with organisations that work directly with vulnerable utility consumers. Fourth&Centre negotiated with energy retailers to be able to provide attendees of the training sessions with $30 credits on their energy accounts as an incentive to attend. 120 people attended the sessions.
- Connected Homes Kits: Fourth&Centre developed a step-by-step guide help utility consumers to reduce their utility costs and pay their utility bills while keeping their homes comfortable and safe. As part of the program, the Kits were to be provided to staff of the organisations hosting Connected Homes training sessions, to help them to continue to assist their clients with utility cost concerns into the future.
Reducing Energy Bill Stress in Aboriginal Social Housing (Dubbo)
***WINNER: 2018 NSW Premier’s Award for Improving Government Services***
To assist Aboriginal social housing tenants with high energy costs, Fourth&Centre designed an energy support program for the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office in partnership with its tenants, responding to direct feedback about tenant needs. Through the program, the AHO installed solar photovoltaic systems and a CSIRO-developed technology in 150 Aboriginal social housing properties in Dubbo, NSW, and provided tenants with education and support in relation to energy bills. Using a successful social procurement strategy, the AHO partnered with two Aboriginal businesses that deeply understood tenant needs and each made significant social value contributions to the program, including recruiting, training and employing 8 local Aboriginal men to work on the solar installations (those men then went on to secure permanent employment at the Dubbo solar farm as a direct result of the training and experience they had received). The program was supported and sponsored by over 40 stakeholders from across the private, public and social sectors.
The results of the program are summarised below.