The green building sector has taken a big hit this year after a number of federal initiatives were axed. The loss of major green developments is placing mounting pressure on those in the sector, particularly in relation to the loss of job opportunities the lack of investment may cause.
Climate change parliamentary secretary Mark Dreyfus has defused some of those concerns, however, with the announcement that the $45 million allocated to the dumped solar hot water rebate scheme will be redirected into two other green initiatives.
In what is known to be a Greens Party push, money will now be reallocated to a $24 million community solar and heat pump hot water program and a $21 million existing Home Energy Saver Scheme (HESS) in order to help lower income Australians afford renewable energy technologies.
While Australian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary Tim Ayres is skeptical about business pledges in regard to the scrapped hot water scheme, he states that the reallocation of funds will support the green building sector by substantially saving jobs.
“I don’t believe there will be job losses,” says Ayres. “This is a very significant subsidy and the industry has got a social obligation now to make sure they are delivering for local jobs and delivering for apprenticeships.”
Not only is the investment boost expected to ensure green jobs, it is also expected to aid in the education/communication gap between the industry and the public, allowing everyday Australian households to understand new green technologies and skills to better manage energy consumption.
The first of the schemes will be initiated in October of this year.
The federal government has clearly felt the industry backlash after a number of broken promises in regards to investment and support. However, with the strong support of the Greens, sector confidence is returning, especially in light of the much needed green job security these new schemes offer to provide.