Plea to come clean

Mr Porter said councils in Pearce could apply for funding under the new Local Government Finance Program.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation $250 million loan package offers fixed-rate, long-term finance for major investment projects with the potential to significantly reduce a council’s energy consumption.

The catch is the projects need to be worth at least $10 million.

Two of Pearce’s key councils – the City of Swan and Shire of Mundaring – will not be applying for the loans.

Mundaring said the minimum loan cost was prohibitive because it did not have any projects worth $10 million.

Meanwhile, Swan confirmed it was not preparing an application.

Instead, it was “continually considering required projects and looking for funding options”.

Last financial year, the City of Swan spent about $6 million on utilities.

The Shire of Mundaring spent about $1.3 million.

In 2011, Mundaring used funding from the Community Energy Efficiency Program to install solar panels and upgraded equipment at the Bilgoman Aquatic Centre. It resulted in a 41 per cent cut in energy consumption.

The same year, Swan used the Perth Solar City program to install solar panels at some of its council buildings.

The Australian Government’s latest loan package – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s Local Government Finance Program – can be used for a single project or package of works, and councils can work together to finance joint projects.

Mr Porter said there were compelling reasons for local councils to take proactive steps in managing their energy use.

“Local governments across Australia administer a vast network of street lights, community centres, libraries, sport and recreation facilities and other public access buildings,” he said.

“At the same time, they are under continued pressure to effectively and efficiently manage their operations – and energy use can represent a significant cost component.

“Many councils across Australia are already looking at how they can reduce costs for ratepayers such as switching to LED street lighting and this initiative will help them put these types of plans into action.”