Tax break for green buildings will reduce carbon emissions and support green collar growth

The Gillard Government's proposed 'Tax Breaks for Green Buildings' program will motivate building owners to reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions and support green collar growth, says the nation's leading green building organisation.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has welcomed the Labor Party's commitment to introduce an incentive for businesses that invest in eligible assets or capital works to improve the energy efficiency of their existing buildings.

"The GBCA strongly supports any incentive to retrofit existing buildings, as this is one of the most cost-effective carbon abatement opportunities available," says the GBCA's Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.

"This announcement demonstrates the Gillard Government's commitment to greening the built environment and is a strong indication of leadership."

The incentive will 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 would apply from 1 July, 2011.

"A retrofitting program 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.

"This retrofitting program will create jobs growth without needing to create additional commercial stock - future proofing our existing buildings, ensuring they perform closer to new standards and addressing tenant expectations.

"The existing building challenge is, in fact, one of the five priorities of our 'green building agenda', which the GBCA released to encourage all parties to commit to green buildings, communities and cities as part of their election policies.

"There remains a long way to go, with more 'long strides' required to move Australia forward faster, but these steps taken are welcome and we are committed to working with the Australian Government to ensure that the most accessible opportunities are seized and a range of further incentives offered," Ms Madew concludes.

Download the GBCA's Federal Election 2010 Green Building Priorities.