Property industry welcomes climate change review

The Terms of Reference for the Government’s Review of Climate Change Policies released today sets a framework for Australia to meet its international obligations in a way that recognises sector-by-sector opportunities across the economy.

“We welcome the Minister’s sector by sector approach to the Government’s climate change review and his determination to deliver low cost abatement across the economy”, said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“The built environment comprises 23% of Australia’s emissions and it offers Australia enormous opportunity for low cost emissions reduction.

“When we cut emissions in our cities our businesses are more efficient, our homes are less expensive to run and we are taking strain off the energy networks.

“The Low Carbon, High Performance report undertaken by Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) found that with the right policies in place, the built environment can deliver $20 billion in energy savings by 2030, up to one quarter of Australia’s national emissions target and over half the Government’s energy productivity target.

“The Review must identify how we can meet our international obligations to reduce emissions in a way that encourages jobs, underpins investment, and supports trade competitiveness as well as support productivity and energy efficiency across the Australian economy.

“We support the Government’s proposed approach for the review to look at emissions reductions on a sector-by-sector basis, and urge the government to work proactively with us to ensure the right policies and incentives are in place for the sector to make significant contributions.

“We also applaud the decision to review the integration of climate change and energy policies across Australia. It makes perfect sense for national, state and territory governments to implement policies that complement our national economic, energy and environmental objectives.

Mr Morrison said the Turnbull Government’s current centrepiece policy, the Emissions Reduction Fund, does not work for the property sector.

“While the Emissions Reduction Fund aims to target least-cost emissions reductions, structural barriers have prevented uptake in buildings, where many of the lowest cost abatement opportunities exits. Of the 397 projects contracted in the four auctions to date, only four projects used the commercial buildings method. This is a significant missed opportunity.

“We strongly urge the review to adopt policies that will unlock the extensive, cost-effective abatement opportunities in this sector, many of which were identified in the Low Carbon, High Performance report.

Mr Morrison said the built environment also has a strong role to play in the transition of Australia’s energy market to clean energy sources. The government can avoid significant future infrastructure spending by incentivising and removing barriers to the broader of uptake of rooftop solar PV for Australia’s households and businesses.

“We look forward to working with the government to ensure smart policies are put in place to unlock the enormous potential of our sector to contribute to meeting Australia’s emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.”