The Morrison Government has delivered a pre-election federal budget strong on infrastructure spending but short on new initiatives to support emission 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,” Cartledge said.
“We welcome the increased infrastructure funding announced last night 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.
“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," he said.
“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, Cartledge said it is disappointing that the Government has missed a further opportunity to deliver a low emissions future.
Commenting on the federal budget, Master Builders Australia CEO, Denita Wawn, welcomed a return to surplus.
She said it will boost economic confidence and give builders the incentive to invest, create jobs, hire more people and take on more apprentices.
“Likewise builders will strongly back the additional investment to train an additional 80,000 new apprentices in industries experiencing skills shortages including building and construction,” she said.
“Infrastructure investment right across the country, to build economic growth nationally and in local communities is fundamental to the success of our industry and the economy. It will underpin economic growth in our cities and regions many of which are experiencing economic downturn."