Review of Climate Change Policies

Australia’s property industry has called for a year of focus on demand-side solutions to reducing carbon emissions following a supply focused year in 2017, while welcoming the release of the 2017 Review of Climate Change Policies.

“The Government was right to focus its efforts on dealing with the energy supply challenges facing Australia and this Review recognises that work. Now we need that same focus brought to the demand side of the equation”, said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“With a framework for supply being developed in the National Energy Guarantee, attention must also be given to driving down demand – because the cheapest energy is energy we don’t use.

“Australia’s built environment accounts for 23% of emissions and there is enormous potential in the built environment to contribute to Australia’s emission reduction targets.

“With the right policies and incentives in place, Australia’s buildings could meet over half the current National Energy Productivity Target (NEPP) and a quarter of the national 2030 emissions target.”

As the Finkel Report noted: “there appears to be considerable scope for greater use of energy efficiency to improve reliability, security and affordability” and recommended “Governments should accelerate the roll out of broader energy efficiency measures.”

“It is good to see the existing policies that support emissions reduction in the built environment highlighted in the Review. The National Energy Productivity Plan (NEPP), Commercial Building Disclosure, and the National Construction Code are important levers for the Government to use in contributing to emissions reductions, as are direct investments by the Clean Energy Financing Corporation.

“However, the government’s centrepiece policy – the Emissions Reduction Fund – does not work for the built environment and is therefore not driving change in this sector.

“This creates a policy gap in a sector where some of the cheapest emissions reduction opportunities in the economy are to be found.”

Mr Morrison said there are three areas where the Government can develop policies which support emissions reduction in the built environment, these are:

  • Provide deeper incentives for energy efficiency across Australia, leveraging the work by states like NSW and VIC with successful energy efficiency schemes.                                                                                                                        
  • Reform our energy markets to be flexible to innovation in energy technology and responsive to community needs. We need to recognise the potential for distributed energy generation and storage, and fairly reward energy export from onsite generation.                                                                                                                                                                
  • Commit to a trajectory for future upgrades of the National Construction Code. Aligned with Government’s commitment to introduce ‘review and refine’ cycles for climate policy, COAG should commit to a net-zero emissions trajectory for the minimum energy standards in the Code to be implemented within the established three-yearly review cycle.

For more information contact: Paul Ritchie on pritchie@propertycouncil.com.au