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Green Guide to Government Policy

The Advocate - March 2010

Tue 30 Mar, 2010 Advocacy

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News from our man in Canberra, Dave Peebles...

The Advocate has just returned from running a marathon, but is sorry to report that CEO Madew has banned budgie smugglers from the office.

It is possible to believe, from the perspective of those folk who do not have the good fortune to live in Canberra, that the key political issue at the moment is health. As in hospital reform. Instead, within Canberra, the main debate is over whether it is appropriate for the Opposition Leader to spend so much time on his personal health, running marathons and such, rather than focusing on the grand business of developing high policy.

In terms of high policy, the Government is obviously seeking to change the political narrative from climate change to health for the election.

For all this, a lot of the practical work on climate change continues, and climate change will still be one of the key issues in this election year.

The big action on buildings this past month has been the introduction of the mandatory disclosure bill.

The bill will create a legal requirement for owners of commercial office buildings greater than 2,000 square metres to obtain an energy efficiency certificate for their building, and to then disclose the certificate to prospective purchasers and lessees. Head tenants who are subletting office space will also be required to disclose this information.

The information in the certificate will include a star rating of the building's energy efficiency, an assessment of the efficiency of lighting and additional guidance on improving the building. The star rating for the building will need to be included in any advertisement.

In his second reading speech to Parliament, Minister Combet said:

Energy efficiency represents one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways we can reduce our nation's greenhouse gas emissions, and the commercial building sector has the potential to deliver some of the lowest cost abatement. Requiring the disclosure of commercial building energy efficiency is an important part of the government's approach to unlocking this abatement potential... While there is more work that both government and industry can do to unlock the abatement potential of commercial buildings, this bill represents an important step in the right direction.

The GBCA supports the Bill, and likewise believes it is an important step. However, we believe the Government should consider how the scheme could be expanded, over time, to capture other aspects of environmental performance, such as water efficiency and indoor environment quality.

The Advocate is now off to further his fitness regime...

To be continued...

Last updated Wed 5 Oct 2011