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The GBCA has said the Australian Government is reneging on a commitment to reduce carbon emissions, with the proposed Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program dropped from the Federal Budget, announced last week.
The $1 billion retrofitting program had been proposed as part of a series of measures to complement the carbon price, and was designed to provide businesses with an incentive to improve the energy efficiency of their existing buildings.
Under the scheme, businesses would have been able to claim a one-off bonus tax deduction of up to 50 percent of the cost of their investments in eligible assets or capital works. The program was initially scheduled to commence from 1 July 2011, but had been postponed until 1 July 2012.
“The decision to scrap the Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program is extremely disappointing. The Gillard Government is backing away from a 2010 election promise and abandoning its commitment to provide incentives for green buildings,” said the Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, Romilly Madew.
“Buildings represent the fastest, most cost-effective opportunity to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program was an essential component of the package of complementary measures designed to drive energy and material efficiencies within the built environment,” Ms Madew said.
The Australian Institute of Architects had also expressed concern about the consequences of scrapping the program in the lead-up to the budget announcement. Institute CEO David Parken said earlier this month: “This scheme goes a long way in securing a reduction in carbon emissions, but also has the potential to create thousands of much needed jobs in the building and construction industry.
“To delay or indeed drop the scheme would be counterproductive to Australia’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a blow to the green jobs sector.”
Image 485 LaTrobe Street Melbourne, a recent green retrofit completed by engineering consultancy Norman Disney & Young. Projects like this would have qualified for the Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program, had it gone ahead.