27 May 2020
My sincere thanks to Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) for this opportunity to provide a brief policy position from an LNP and personal perspective. We have been engaging far and wide with a host of stakeholders (including GBCA) to help us develop a suite of policies to take to the upcoming Queensland State election.
While not an exhaustive list, we are pleased to share those mentioned below as key priorities. Our aim is to drive down the cost of electricity, meet our climate commitments and seize new job and industry opportunities. Further policies will be released closer to the election in October 2020.
Two years ago in our Economic Plan, a commitment was given that an LNP Government would mandate investment by our government-owned energy companies in renewable energy generation. We will work with the AEMO on the right mix of electricity generation to ensure that electricity supply becomes affordable and reliable.
We have listened to many participants in the building and construction industries, along with local councils, on the need for an overhaul of the existing procurement policies. These should be closely aligned to a government’s own strategic objectives such as promoting the sustainability of local communities, emissions reduction and building skilled workforces.
In Queensland, business confidence was already at rock bottom before the COVID-19 crisis. The LNP recognises the importance of maintaining regular communications with industry around changes to the procurement policy in order to build business confidence and advance government priorities.
Saving energy is a highly effective way to reduce electricity bills, while improving energy security and sustainability. Indeed, there are compelling reasons for us to have energy efficiency as a top priority on the policy agenda.
In addition to introducing initiatives to help customers save energy to reduce their bills, the LNP will lead by example and update the energy efficiency of government-owned buildings. Such a program will not only serve to bring down operating costs, it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In terms of electric vehicles, the acceleration in the uptake of electric vehicles can improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and carbon emissions. However, our planning regulations need to ensure that new dwellings and commercial buildings do have the necessary infrastructure accessible for these purposes.
This has been clearly brought home to me recently when my wife and I downsized from a house to an off the plan unit. In my early discussions with the developers it was clear they weren’t intending on planning for the future uptake of electric vehicles by residents in the building, instead leaving it to owners to facilitate charging stations for themselves. I couldn’t convince them otherwise and this is only a year ago. While I don’t presently have an electric car, I installed a multiuser electric car charger as a variation on my unit carpark costing over $6,000.
There is clearly a need to lift standards for energy efficiency and to consider changes to the building assessment framework and planning laws to achieve a Green Star rating for energy efficiency, along with rateable tools for new shopping centres and recreation facilities.
Close to my electorate office on the Gold Coast at Currumbin, the Ecovillage presents an opportunity to view first hand some of the best practices in residential ecologically sustainable development. There is much which can be learnt from villages such as this including construction material, recycling processes, water and sewerage handling and energy efficiency and more straight forward things like public transport.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a real shock to the system as we all try to cope with a health crisis, as well an economic one. While investment in infrastructure is a clear choice to help bolster a faltering economy, we agree with GBCA that in addition to economic value, broader benefits in relation to social and environmental impacts must be considered early in project selection.
GBCA is pleased to regularly invite editorials from our elected representatives across Australia. As we approach the State Election in Queensland we have been please to re-extend this standing invitation to the state government and the opposition to share their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges for the state in the years ahead.