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
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