Policy Snapshot - May 2021

14 May 2021

Federal Budget invests in a resilient future

A $15.2 billion boost for infrastructure, new agencies to enhance our resilience capabilities and $12 billion for green technology are among the measures welcomed by Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in this week’s Federal Budget announcements. Among these, we have applauded the investment in projects such as Perth’s METRONET and Canberra Light Rail, a new National Recovery and Resilience Agency and investments to help businesses lower their emissions under the Technology Investment Roadmap. Whilst supportive of investment in clean green technologies, we have urged Government to direct investment into measures that would deliver a bigger bang for our buck, rather than gas-led projects and carbon capture and storage. Australian Government has done a commendable job steering the nation through the rough seas of 2020, and we have now emerged from the COVID-19 recession in a position to take serious steps forward on other priorities, such as climate action.

Read our Budget response

ALP Budget response pledges social housing, green jobs

GBCA has welcomed the Federal Opposition’s commitment to deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes in last night’s Budget reply speech. Australia currently has a national shortage of approximately 438,000 social house dwellings, which is expected to grow to 727,000 by 2036. Targeting this area of public infrastructure through direct investment could address this gap, while helping to boost employment and housing construction at a critical time. We believe that this funding should prioritise homes which are energy efficient, healthy and resilient. We also welcome Labor’s early commitment to take action on climate change through investment in local renewable energy projects and green jobs.

Response to intended effects of proposed Design and Places SEPP

We presented our comments on a major reform underway in NSW to streamline and simplify current planning regulations and provide a single point of reference for sustainability in place-making and design excellence. Whilst we support the broad intent of this policy, a key measure of its success will be the extent to which it can promote consistent outcomes that reflect the intent of its principles. Our response to the NSW Government Architect placed particular attention on:

  • Ensuring that the policy promotes and ensures the clarity, timeliness and predictability of outcomes for project applicants and consent authorities.
  • The inclusion of clear, measurable performance standards as design controls and a robust variation framework.
  • The alignment of proposed guidance, such as the Urban Design Guide with existing best practice frameworks such as the Green Star – Communities national framework.
  • The use of robust, industry supported rating systems such as Green Star as a pathway for projects to demonstrate alignment with the principles and outcomes sought by the policy. 
  • Various reforms proposed for BASIX, acknowledging the work the NSW Government and Government Architect is progressing on the basis of feedback given by GBCA and our member, Cundall on a number of technical issues in BASIX. 
Read our submission

Victoria releases new climate change strategy

The Victorian Government has released a 2030 emissions target of 45-50 per cent and a 2025 target of 28-35 per cent below 2005 levels as part of its recently released Climate Change Strategy. The strategy outlines a 5 point plan to securing a net zero emissions future, with targeted actions for improving energy efficiency, driving greater renewable energy uptake, as well as key sectoral pledges. We particularly support the commitment in the Strategy for Victoria to reduce energy costs and emissions by shifting from gas to electricity and ensuring that all government electricity use will be 100 per cent renewable by 2025. We are pleased to have made several representations to the government during the development of the strategy with the bulk of our input highlighting the opportunities for Victoria to reduce emissions across the built environment. 

Read the Climate Change Strategy

Invitation to report launch: Embodied Carbon & Embodied Energy in Australia's Buildings

We are excited to host the launch of the report, ‘Embodied Carbon & Embodied Energy in Australia's Buildings’, developed in collaboration with thinkstep-ANZ and with support of the Commonwealth Government. 

In addition to operational emissions, embodied carbon (emissions associated with manufacturing of materials and construction processes throughout the whole life-cycle of a building) will play an important role in the sector’s efforts to meet Australia’s commitment under the Paris Agreement. Unlike operational energy and emissions, embodied emissions and energy occur upstream of the building itself and are largely invisible to builders and architects. Through this work, we have undertaken to present an evidence base for the projected embodied energy and emissions from Australia’s buildings from now until 2050. 

Join us to attend this free webinar which will highlight key findings and implications from our work and our collective efforts to achieve a net zero built environment in the coming decades.

Register for the launch