Policy Snapshot - February 2021

05 Feb 2021

Earlier this week, we welcomed the Prime Minister’s comment that Australia should reach net zero ‘as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050’. While achieving this vision is possible given the many practical options we have to decarbonise the economy, it will require coordination across all areas of policy and investment. As our Board member Anna Skarbek, CEO ClimateWorks has pointed out, it is critical that political support is backed by action – including practical transition plans for key sectors such as the built environment.

Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) will this year continue to prosecute the many economically feasible opportunities in our sector that can help support our transition. In our submission to this year’s Federal Budget, we recommended that the Government prioritise investments that will set Australia up for the future, including energy efficiency and climate resilient upgrades. As we take forward the ideas for a resilient, prosperous and efficient property sector, we would love to hear from you. As always, feel free to get in touch with me or anyone else at GBCA with any feedback, questions or suggestions about our work.

Kind regards,
Sandra Qian
Senior Manager – Policy and Government Relations

2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission

We have presented our proposals to the Commonwealth Government for the 2021-22 Federal Budget, with initiatives designed to create jobs, sustain economic activity, and improve the resilience of our built environment. 

Building on the recommendations from our stimulus paper, our submission highlights a suite of investment opportunities, from home energy retrofits, low emissions technologies commercialisation, energy efficient social housing, high performing public assets to energy efficiency skills and training – all of which are designed to help grow the economy and tap into key opportunities for reducing emissions.

Read our submission

EPBC final report released

The Independent Review into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act released its final report last week. The report finds that the Act is falling short of its key objective to protect the environment and that Australia’s natural heritage is in an overall state of decline. 

New, legally enforceable National Environmental Standards (NES) are the centrepiece of the recommended reforms. These standards will focus on the impacts of human activities on Matters of National Environmental Significance and on the fundamental processes for sound decision-making. 

The report also recommends the establishment of an independent Environment Assurance Commissioner who would be responsible for reporting on the implementation of the NES to parliament. 

We advocated for both of these recommendations in our submission to the Independent Review.

The Commonwealth has committed to working through the full suite of recommendations contained within the report with stakeholders in the near future. We will engage with this process to ensure good environmental outcomes are delivered in a timely manner. 

Read the Independent Review final report Read Minister Ley's media release

GBCA expresses support for Climate Change Bill 

We have joined the cohort of organisations in favour of the private members’ Bill introduced by Zali Steggall, Member for Warringah who launched a campaign last year to generate bi-partisan support for action on climate change. The Bill, which seeks to establish a long-term national framework for climate change mitigation and adaption is now before a parliamentary inquiry. In our submission to the inquiry, we noted that the Bill “presents a robust foundation for Australia’s climate change policy, by providing a clear, agreed vision and key structures to support and guide our transition”. We have long advocated for a national target of net zero emissions and a sector plan for net zero buildings by 2050. Industry requires clear, strong and effective policies, underpinned by long-term clarity on the regulatory landscape that will enable investment in low carbon measures and technologies at acceptably low levels of risk.

Read our submission

Victorian planning system ESD reforms 

The Victorian Government has released a work plan to embed environmentally sustainable development (ESD) outcomes for new commercial, residential, and industrial buildings in the state. In line with the Government’s 35-year metropolitan planning strategy, Plan Melbourne, the project will develop new policies and standards for Victoria’s planning system and establish a state-wide approach to ESD that improves the sustainability of building and subdivision developments. 

Stage one of this work plan will update the Planning Policy Framework to more comprehensively embed ESD. This will be followed by work to introduce new and expanded provisions across a range of key ESD elements. 

We welcome the Government’s commitment to well designed and resource efficient buildings and looks forward to providing input on these reforms, which will be introduced into the Victorian Planning Provisions and planning schemes later this year.

Learn more

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