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4602.2 - Household Water, Energy Use and Conservation, Victoria, Oct 2009 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/06/2010  First Issue
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Contents >> Introduction

INTRODUCTION

This publication presents results from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2009 State Supplementary Survey (SSS) - Household Water, Energy Use and Conservation. The survey was conducted during October 2009 throughout Victoria. The survey collected information on household water and energy sources, insulation, energy use, swimming pools and gardens, as well as personal public transport use, all of which may have implications for resource use, and by extension, emissions such as greenhouse gases. As such, the survey results may provide further understanding of the environmental impact of households and individuals in Victoria.

Internationally, the United Nations (UN) has led responses to climate change that encourage countries to take action, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (which includes the Kyoto Protocol), the more recent 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as part of the UN Environment Program. Australia is also involved in other supranational initiatives, such as the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate which has explicit environmental objectives for households, including energy efficient design principles and support for the uptake of energy efficient appliances.

The Australian federal government and the United Nations (UN) view contemporary climate change as a real occurrence and as something that is very likely caused by human activity, creating greenhouse emissions (DCCEE 2009). For 2008, Australia's per capita greenhouse gas emissions were the highest of any OECD country (Garnaut 2008).

Nationally, there are policy initiatives targeting human activity affecting climate change. The Council of Australian Government has committed to implementing a national energy efficiency strategy, as well creating the COAG Climate Change Group which established the 2006 Plan of Collaborative Action on Climate Change. In 2007, the federal Department for Climate Change was created, producing a national climate change strategy aiming to reduce carbon pollution emissions.

In 2007-08, 82% of Australian adults stated they were concerned about the environment (ABS 2009). The Victorian State government also found that the Victorian community were concerned about climate change and valued protection of the environment (DPC 2009).

The Victorian government, as outlined in a 2009 green paper on climate change, aims to help businesses, households and communities in understanding and preparing for climate change impacts. Our Environment, Our Future is a Victorian program related to action on energy supply, energy demand growth and transport-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Victoria is Australia's most southern mainland state, and combined with coastal influences which have a moderating effect on the weather is influenced by seasonal weather patterns as well as topographic features which are especially noticeable in winter where snow only falls at high altitudes, Victoria in the north and west has dry inland plains. The coast is generally wetter, except for areas around central Gippsland and to the west of Melbourne. Seasonal variations affect Victoria's weather patterns, especially in spring when the weather is more variable. Across Victoria, the 13 year period from 1997 to 2010 has shown rainfall deficiencies, which indicates drought (BOM 2010).

Of the 2.1 million households in Victoria, 1.5 million were located within Melbourne Major Statistical Region (Melbourne) and 590,000 households were in Balance of Victoria Major Statistical Region (regional Victoria). Some selected characteristics of Victorian households in 2009 are shown in table 1.

Table 1 – All Households by Selected Household Characteristics, Victoria, 2009.
Household Characteristic
Number ('000)
Percentage (%) of Victoria
Tenure type
    Owned outright
758.6
36.3
    Being paid off
734.9
35.1
    Rented (including rent free)
554.0
26.5
Dwelling type
    Separate house
1,636.5
78.2
    Semi-detached (a), flat, unit or apartment
452.0
21.6
Dwelling age
    Dwelling is more than 2 years old
2,003.5
95.8
    Dwelling is 2 years old or less
80.3
3.8
Annual household income
    Less than $25,000 per year
466.7
22.3
    $25,000 to less than $50,000
442.3
21.1
    $50,000 to less than $70,000
324.3
15.5
    $70,000 to less than $110,000
415.1
19.8
    $110,000 or more
341.9
16.3
Family Composition
    Person living alone
500.5
23.9
    Couple only
507.3
24.3
    Couple family with dependant children (b)
568.9
27.2
    Lone parent family with dependant children (b)
130.3
6.2
    All other households (c)
384.9
18.4
Number of people in household
    One person household
519.2
24.8
    Two person household
684.1
32.7
    Three to five person household
828
39.6
    Six or more person household
60.6
2.9
Victoria (d)
2091.8
100.0
(a) Includes row or terrace house or townhouse.
(b) Includes households with additional members (related and not related).
(c) Includes other one family households, multiple family households (with and without dependent children), group households and households which could not be determined.
(d) Victorian total includes households with other tenure types, where dwelling age was unknown and where income was not stated.

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2009, Environmental Views and Behaviour, Cat no. 4626.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.

BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) 2010, Drought Statement, <http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/drought.shtml> last viewed on 5 May 2010.

DCCEE (Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) 2009, Hot topics: Can the warming of the 20th century be explained by natural processes?, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.

DPC (Victorian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet) 2009, Climate Change Green Paper, The State of Victoria, Melbourne.

Garnaut R 2008, The Garnaut Climate Change Review, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne.


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