With just days before the budget announcement, no legislation has been introduced to support the start of the Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program.
“Buildings represent the fastest, most cost-effective opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. They are truly the lowest of the low-hanging fruit,” says the Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Romilly Madew.
“The Green Building Council of Australia was supportive of the Australian Government’s decision to put a price on pollution, because we understood it would be supported by a range of complementary measures to support energy and material efficiencies within the property and construction industry,” Madew says.
“The Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program is an essential component in this package of complementary measures. Without this program, the greatest opportunity to improve energy efficiency, at the least cost, will be missed,” Madew adds.
The program, a 2010 election commitment of the Gillard Government, would provide an incentive for businesses that invest in eligible assets or capital works to improve the energy efficiency of their existing buildings.
The incentive would enable businesses to claim a one-off bonus tax deduction of 50 per cent of the cost of the eligible assets or capital works. The scheme was expected to commence from 1 July 2011, but was postponed following extensive industry consultation, with the Australian Government committing to a 1 July 2012 start date.
“The industry has been calling for – and has been promised – incentives and tax breaks for green buildings for a long time,” Madew says.
“We have patiently waited for the scheme to be implemented, despite delays, because we believe it is essential for the program to be accessible to the widest possible number of buildings.
“The $1 billion promised will do more than reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Research from Davis
Langdon has found that retrofitting a significant quantity of commercial stock will support the growth of green skills and has the potential to create jobs for more than 10,000 people in the building and construction industry.
“The property and construction industry has demonstrated its strong commitment to greening the built environment. We understand that we must strike a balance between regulation and incentives. However, if the ‘carrot’ of the Tax Breaks program is removed, industry is left with only the ‘stick’,” Madew concludes.
About the Green Building Council of Australia
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is Australia’s leading authority on green buildings and communities. The GBCA was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry in Australia and drive the adoption of green building practices. The GBCA has 850 member companies who work together to support the Council and its activities. The GBCA promotes green building programs, technologies, design practices and processes, and operates Australia’s only national voluntary comprehensive environmental rating system for buildings - Green Star.