Federal Budget: Three “big ticket” items accelerate Australia’s transition to net zero

25 Oct 2022

The centrepiece of the Albanese Government’s Federal Budget – a plan to build one million energy-efficient homes by the end of the decade – has been warmly welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

GBCA Chief Executive Davina Rooney says the $350 million affordable housing kick-start fund – which complements the existing $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund – is one of three “big ticket” funding commitments that will accelerate the transition of Australia’s built environment to net zero carbon emissions.

“The Federal Budget makes a clear connection between a liveable, affordable future and energy-efficient homes. We applaud this leadership that sends a clear signal to the market,” Ms Rooney says.

Among Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ announcements is a new national housing “accord”, struck between the three tiers of government, institutional investors including superannuation funds, and the property and construction industry, that promises to deliver 10,000 affordable, energy-efficient homes over the five years from 2024.

“This represents an unmissable opportunity to deliver healthy, comfortable, affordable and net zero homes, verified by frameworks like Green Star,” Ms Rooney says.

The GBCA also welcomes tax exemptions for electric vehicles, additional investment in community batteries and solar, and an extra $20 billion to expand and modernise Australia’s electricity grids, unlock renewables and storage capacity, and drive down power prices.

The commitment of $100 million to the New Energy Apprenticeships and New Energy Skills programs includes a new mentoring program and up to $10,000 for apprentices pursuing clean energy skills. “This announcement will plug a critical skills gap as we begin the enormous task of electrifying an estimated 9,500 thousand buildings each week over the next decade,” Ms Rooney says.

“We also applaud the allocation of more than $42 million to the Climate Change Authority to ‘restore Australia’s climate leadership’. In particular, the $7.1 million to guide the Australian Public Service towards net zero emissions by 2030 will send a crystal-clear signal to industry.

The Albanese Government has earmarked $15.2 million over four years to develop a National Energy Performance Strategy to manage Australia’s energy demand – a move which recognises the importance of energy efficiency in transition to net zero.

A further $4.6 million to expand the Greenhouse Energy Minimum Standards program and the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is also welcome news.

“Overall, the three big ticket items – energy-efficient housing, renewables and clean energy skills – will all help Australia’s property and construction industry to move faster and further towards Australia’s net zero targets,” Ms Rooney notes.

“We look forward to partnering with the Albanese Government to help industry deliver on these ambitious but achievable commitments.”