Green loans booking office on hold

HOUSEHOLDS have been left waiting as local Home Sustainability assessors find it all but impossible to contact the Federal Government’s Green Loan Assessment Booking Office.

Owen Cassidy, a certified sustainability assessor, has conducted about 60 assessments since starting work with the scheme in mid-2009 but, he said, he couldn’t make bookings with the Green Loans booking centre in the past fortnight because the phone was either constantly engaged or he was stuck on hold ad nauseam.

Owen said a web-based booking site had been promised since the start of the scheme but had not been delivered.

“It makes it very hard to reschedule if you have to,” he said.

Also, three of the assessments Owen completed in August, had still not had their reports posted out to the households.

Owen said he had emailed and phoned about these reports several times but promised return calls or emails had not been forthcoming.

Owen, who is now based in Brisbane, is a former Graftonian and conducted quite a few assessments in the Clarence Valley.

Unlike several of Owen’s fellow assessors quoted in The Northern Star yesterday, Owen said he had been paid consistently by the scheme.

“But if I had done it as a full-time thing I would have been disappointed,” said Owen who paid about $1500 for his training.

“They’ve trained too many assessors and the call centre just can’t handle it ... it’s a worthy cause and if they had more staff in the booking system it would work.

“On the most part it’s a good scheme and it’s been a good experience.”

As part of the scheme, households’ energy efficiency is assessed and a report produced which makes suggested energy saving behaviours and technology.

A $10,000 interest-free loan, funded through four major banks, is made available to eligible households if they apply.

The scheme, which set out to conduct 360,000 household green assessments, is expected to reach its quota in the near future due to unexpectedly high demand.

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