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Mission Australia Housing tenants in Forster on the NSW Mid-North Coast are benefiting from the first phase of our community partnership with Great Southern Bank that aims to cut energy bills and reduce emissions for Australians living in community housing.

The partnership has seen energy efficient upgrades including heat pump hot water systems, LED lighting and water tanks installed at a 41-unit Mission Australia Housing complex in Forster, thanks to the support of Great Southern Bank.

Naomi Donohoe, Regional Manager for Mission Australia Housing said the upgrades will provide much needed cost-of-living relief for tenants.

“Forster was our priority, as the building is more than 40 years old and one of the least energy efficient in our portfolio,” Ms Donohoe said.

“We’ve heard specifically from our tenants that they are struggling with the higher utility bills while trying to live comfortably in their homes throughout the year,” she added.

“Partnering with Great Southern Bank on this project will save tenants money and reduce our environmental footprint.”

Megan Keleher, Chief Marketing Officer at Great Southern Bank, said she believes the $1m partnership can create a meaningful impact on the lives of hundreds of financially excluded people in Australia.

“These energy and water upgrades in Forster are only just the beginning of a three-year partnership with Mission Australia to address today’s challenges of rising electricity costs and climate change,” Ms Keleher said.

“The strength of this partnership lies in combining our commitment to financial inclusion and climate action, with Mission Australia’s expertise and experience as one of the country’s largest community housing providers,” she added.

Mission Australia Housing tenant Andre (57), a hospitality worker who has lived in Forster for more than 10 years, is one of the first to benefit from the energy improvements.

“These energy-savings upgrades are a win-win for myself and the environment,” he said.

“The new heat pump hot water system means no more waiting for the water to heat up before taking a shower,” he added.

“It’s a significant difference. Makes me feel alive, feel complete, actually.”

Fellow tenant Jannene (56) works at a local school and said she’s already envisioning how she’ll allocate the savings from her expected lower utility bills.

“It’s going to be great for the electricity bills,” she said.

“I’d love to be able to go on a short trip somewhere with the money I’ll save,” she added.

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