Property Council of Australia submission to the ongoing inquiry into the Climate Change Bill 2020

The Property Council of Australia is pleased to make a submission to the ongoing Inquiry into the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020 and the Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020.

The Property Council is the peak body for owners and investors in Australia’s property industry. Our industry contributes 13% of Australia’s GDP and employs 1.4 million people, more than mining and manufacturing combined. While there are disparities across the sector, Australia’s property industry leaders are world leaders in sustainability, topping indices like the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark for ten consecutive years.

As a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Australia has committed to decarbonise our economy by mid-century. To create the regulatory certainty needed to achieve this objective, we recommend the Commonwealth commits to an explicit target of net zero emissions by 2050, consistent with State and Territory government plans. This will drive game-changing innovation and investment.

The Climate Change (National Framework for Adaptation and Mitigation) Bill 2020 (the Bill) recognises Australia’s international commitments and establishes the legislative framework to deliver broad ranging emissions reductions across the economy.
Australia’s built environment contributes almost a quarter of Australia’s emissions and offers significant shovel-ready, and largely untapped opportunities for emissions reduction.

The Property Council and Green Building Council of Australia’s practical plan for emissions reduction, Every Building Counts, provides a comprehensive suite of policies to reduce emissions from Australia’s buildings. We commend this plan to the Committee and acknowledge the work underway through the Commonwealth’s Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings. These foundational pieces of work should be expanded upon to form a comprehensive sectoral plan for the built environment.

The Property Council’s key priorities in relation to the Bill are the following, with further detail included in the submission below:

  • The establishment of a national target of net zero emissions by 2050 and a sector plan for net zero emissions buildings by 2050 with interim, science-based, targets and a process for review.
  • The creation of a National Climate Change Risk Assessment Framework to inform and guide future projects in the built environment sector.
  • The creation of a National Adaptation Plan to ensure a coordinated approach to resilience across sectors and within the property industry.
  • The establishment, and adequate resourcing, of an independent agency to advise government on climate science, risks, targets and adaptation.
  • The leveraging of existing frameworks, such as the CEFC and ARENA to develop and commercialise, lowest cost abatement technologies.