Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet announced that the Green Buildings Program would be shelved, saving the government $400 million over the next three years and up to $1 billion over its eight year program.
The program was first announced as part of a 2010 election commitment but was delayed until its anticipated implementation in July 2012. Under the scheme, businesses that invested in improving the energy efficiency of existing assets would receive a one-off tax break. The works would be assessed by an accredited National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) assessor before and after the project.
According to Romilly Madew, chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, sacrificing the Green Buildings Program will prevent the improvement of the most likely assets.
“Buildings represent the fastest, most cost-effective opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. They are truly the lowest of the low-hanging fruit,” she says.
According to Minister Combet, the program was no longer value for money given the carbon price reforms.
“Along with the incentive provided by the carbon price under the Clean Energy Future package, support is available for retrofits of commercial buildings, for example through Low Carbon Australia,” he said.
Mr Combet said that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation would also provide funding that would build up to $10 billion for renewable energy and low emissions technologies.