2022 Federal Budget reply

01 Apr 2022

A message from the CEO Davina Rooney

An alternate vision for Australia’s future

Last night, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese used his Budget Reply speech to outline an alternate view for Australia’s future – a future that “ended the climate wars” and transformed Australia into a “renewable energy superpower”.

This is a vision that Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has championed for two decades. So, it should come as no surprise that we welcome several key policies that the Australian Labor Party promises to deliver if it forms government. Notably, the ALP’s plan is sharply focused on responding to the challenges of climate change and seizing the opportunities on the road to net zero

1.      Net zero future

One of the five pillars of Labor’s election platform is Powering Australia, which pledges “cheap renewable energy, lower power bills, more jobs”.

Labor’s plan – which Mr Albanese said was fully-costed, comprehensive and backed by diverse groups from the Business Council of Australia to the Farmers’ Federation to the ACTU – would make us more resilient and less reliant on global supply chains. It would put downward pressure on power bills, create 604,000 jobs – five in six new jobs in our regions – while driving down emissions by 43%.

Importantly, the Australian Government would demonstrate leadership by “reducing the Australian Public Service’s own emissions to net zero by 2030”.

2.      Resilient communities and economy

An Albanese Labor Government promises to improve Australia’s disaster readiness by investing up to $200 million per year on a Disaster Ready Fund focused on prevention and resilience. GBCA has been a long-term champion of transformational funding that helps communities to build resilience and prepare before disaster strikes, and we warmly welcome this announcement.

Importantly, an Albanese Government would establish a National Reconstruction Fund, administered by an independent board, to leverage Australia’s “natural competitive strengths”, notably renewables and low-emission technologies.

3.      Nation-building infrastructure

The Opposition Leader said infrastructure was “a sustainable long-term investment in Australia's future” and promised that Labor would make decisions informed by the Infrastructure Australia model of business case assessment – one which values “quadruple bottom line” sustainability of economic, environmental, social and governance.

Labor would also create a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties in its first five years. This is an unmissable opportunity to work with GBCA to ensure these homes have sustainability baked in, making them affordable over the long-term.

4.      A renewable-energy powerhouse

An Albanese Labor Government would also provide up to $15 billion of capital to invest in job-creating projects, through loans, equity and guarantees, in a range of industries, notably renewables and low emissions technologies, as well as direct financial support for energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses.

GBCA is objectively passionate about policy that supports sustainability in the built environment – and we commend good policy from all parties. We welcomed the Morrison Government’s commitment to relevant low-emissions technologies following the Treasurer’s Budget speech on Tuesday night. We also welcomed circular economy projects, disaster recovery and City Deals.

A federal election is just weeks away. Each of us will make our own judgements about which party is best placed to guide Australia towards an uncertain future. And GBCA will work collaboratively with whichever political party forms government, as we have done for two decades.

One thing is certain. We have just a few short years to arrest the most damaging impacts of climate change. In this, the decade of decarbonisation, the next Australian Government has a monumental task ahead.