Strong on infrastructure, short on emission reductions

2 April 2019

The Morrison Government has delivered a pre-election federal budget strong on infrastructure spending but short on new initiatives to support emissions reductions, according to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

GBCA Head of Public Affairs and Membership, Jonathan Cartledge, said this year’s budget includes some welcome announcements, such as those focusing on fast rail but lacked bold new initiatives to drive down emissions.

“As the Government clearly appreciates, strong infrastructure investment is the backbone of healthy, resilient and high-functioning towns and cities,” Mr Cartledge said.

“We welcome the increased infrastructure funding announced tonight including the focus on reducing congestion, connecting our regional centres and promoting fast rail.

“The imperative in the years ahead is to see these investments maximise their value through the creation of more productive, liveable and sustainable communities that deliver a better standard of living for all Australians. 

“Given the paramount importance of leveraging our cities and regions to deal with the challenges of population growth and climate change, we would have liked to see additional funds earmarked for City Deals, and sooner, but look forward to supporting the implementation of those already announced.

“We note the Government’s investment of $79.2 million over six years for new energy efficiency measures. 

“While improving the energy efficiency of our appliances is important, the opportunity to realise significant savings through support for a low emissions built environment will help ease the transition to a low carbon future across the economy.

“Australian industry leads the world in delivering net zero carbon buildings. We urge Government to match industry leadership with more ambitious policy that rewards broader action. 

“With the built environment accounting for a quarter of Australia’s emissions, it is disappointing that the Government has missed a further opportunity to deliver a low emissions future. 

“The Opposition has shown strong leadership on climate policy this week and we commend their efforts.

“It is encouraging to see both major parties identify the opportunities a national electric vehicle network can offer, and that ameliorating congestion, and investing in our cities is top of mind for all sides of politics.

“Continuing to work in partnership with industry and all levels of government to make strategic infrastructure investments will ensure that taxpayers get benefits where and when they are most needed.”