Pat Conaghan MP

Solar power on way for Vinnies at Macksville

St Vincent De Paul Society in Macksville is one of 275 Australian not-for-profit community groups receiving help from the Morrison-McCormack Government to lower its energy bills.

Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said energy bills are often one of the biggest overheads for volunteer organisations and an aim of the Government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program was to help ease some of the financial pressures facing our hardworking community groups.

“I thank Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor for providing $3.8 million nationally to our important not-for-profit organisations who are the heart of our communities,” he said.

“Vinnies at Macksville will receive $12,500 towards installing solar panels on the centre’s roof which will reduce the organisation’s electricity costs in the future.

“Our Government’s Energy Efficient Communities Program also has the benefit of reducing Australia’s carbon emissions through assisting community groups to install new solar systems, new battery and battery storage systems or by purchasing and installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting equipment.”

Successful not-for-profit community groups include charity shops, Men’s Sheds, scout groups, sporting clubs, youth support services, churches, community childcare centres, senior citizens clubs, historical societies and wildlife rescue organisations. Grants were awarded of between $1,000 and $12,500.

St Vincent De Paul Society NSW CEO Jack de Groot said embracing solar power would enable Vinnies to provide more support to local families and individuals.

“Vinnies embraces rooftop solar as a way of reducing our electricity costs and enabling us to provide more support to local families and individuals doing it tough,” Mr de Groot said.

“We are particularly concerned about North Coast families struggling to pay high rents, often going without food and other essentials to make ends meet. The threat of homelessness always looms.

“Like solar power, Vinnies shops benefit the environment by greatly reducing landfill waste.

“Vinnies Macksville was closed for several months because of COVID-19, but it has re-opened and is receiving strong community support. All health precautions are in place, thanks to our dedicated volunteers.”

The Energy Efficient Communities Program was announced as part of the Government’s Climate Solutions Package in the 2019 Budget.

The $14.8 million high energy using businesses’ grants round just opened to applications to businesses that consume more than 0.05 petajoules of energy annually. And the $9 million grant round for small businesses and the $10 million grant round for dairy farmers are still open until 17 August 2020.

Businesses and dairy farmers that wish to apply for a grant can access the guidelines and application forms at or by calling 13 28 46.

Media Contact:
Mr Taylor – Liam O’Neil 0428 113 617
Mr Conaghan – Liz Spry 0418 928 744