Building Australia’s economic recovery

An advocacy agenda has been released calling on governments to make every building count in Australia’s economic recovery.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), Energy Efficiency Council, Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and the Property Council of Australia teamed up to release the agenda.

It leverages recommendations from the report Every Building Counts, and highlights ways in which energy efficiency building programs can boost construction activity and jobs while addressing long-term challenges such as the transition to net zero emissions.

Green Building Council of Australia Chief Executive Davina Rooney says the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must be about job creation, driving business activity and ensuring Australia is on a pathway to emissions reduction.

“Energy efficient buildings present a huge opportunity to deliver on all of these fronts,” she says.

The report highlights the key role that the property and construction industry will play in the post-pandemic recovery of the economy. It urges Australian governments to fund a major overhaul of the building sector to drive economic activity.

Energy Efficiency Council Chief Executive Luke Menzel says the recommendations answer the call for high quality buildings and infrastructure, and carry the potential to create more than 90,000 job years of employment through jobs-rich projects that make the most of local supply chains.

Key opportunities highlighted in Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth, include:

  • Improve the comfort and performance of residential homes through targeted equipment upgrades and incentives for deeper retrofits, with a priority for social housing and low income and vulnerable households
  • Drive commercial building upgrades through tax incentives and establish a “Smart Building Fund” to support mid-tier building owners to rate and guide the upgrade of their buildings
  • Embark on an ambitious program to upgrade schools and hospitals and other government-owned and -occupied buildings with the Commonwealth committing to match funding from state and territory governments up to $150m in each jurisdiction
  • Empower building owners, buyers and renters with a single national rating scheme for home energy performance and prioritise its development in line with the recent recommendations from the King Review
  • Undertake a rapid review of skills needs around energy efficiency, and roll out priority measures to support workers transitioning from other sectors.

Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia, Ken Morrison, believes Australia’s long-term prosperity depends on dealing with other long-term challenges.

“Business, industry and consumer groups are united in calling on the government to make sure that our economic recovery efforts includes a focus on addressing this issue,” he says.

Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth is available to download here.

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