The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has expressed its disappointment with the 2015 Budget, describing it as one of missed opportunities.

According to GBCA, the 2015 Budget has no plan for city infrastructure or additional funding allocation to tackle climate change and sustainable building upgrades.

GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew observed that the Abbott Government has maintained its commitment to the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which remains at $2.55 billion over four years; however, no additional funds have been allocated to ensure Australia met its greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2020.

Additionally, most building owners are unable to access the ERF though the building sector has the greatest potential for delivering emissions cuts at the least cost. There is no money in the Budget to support building upgrades that reduce emissions, while improving the health, wellbeing and productivity of occupants.

Ms Madew commented that Australia required a coordinated, economy-wide approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing urbanisation and adapting to a changing climate, which was missing from the Budget.

The Budget has, however, made an allocation of $6.1 million to the Climate Change Authority, guaranteeing its existence for the next two years. Ms Madew expressed her appreciation for this allocation, explaining that it was important for Australia to have a trusted, independent body to provide advice to government on the emissions targets.

There is disappointment that the Government’s infrastructure package is focussed on roads and freight rather than the 21st century infrastructure required by the country to make its cities more efficient and sustainable. This lack of funding ignores the fact that 85 per cent of Australians live in cities, and that these cities are the engine rooms of national productivity and prosperity.

Ms Madew concludes that political leaders need to invest in Australia’s future, which means investing in policies and programs that embrace a low-carbon economy.