NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker has announced a green building boost that is instilling confidence back into the highly troubled sector.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has praised the NSW government for its leadership and commitment to the Australian green building initiative at a time when the federal government has raised so much doubt in the strength of national environmental policy with the abolition of its billion dollar tax break plan.
“We congratulate the NSW Government for showing leadership, and encourage it to seek Green Star certification for the buildings it retrofits,” says GBCA executive director of advocacy and business services Robin Mellon. “Green Star certification would demonstrate that the money spent on energy efficiency upgrades and other improvements delivers results.”
NSW has committed to improving the energy efficiency of 150 government buildings, including courthouses, hospitals and police stations as a part of the $6.4 million public sector energy efficiency Building Retrofit Program. The program aims to drastically cut energy use and its associated costs. These reductions include a saving of approximately 30,000 megawatt hours of electricity and $5.8 million on annual water and electricity bills.
“One of the GBCA’s five priorities is ‘visionary government leadership’, and we applaud the NSW Government and Minister Parker for starting to capitalise on the opportunities available,” says Mellon.
Many in the industry are now looking to New South Wales to undertake the green leadership roles that the federal government is accused of losing a handle on.
However, the nation-wide green building sector is not out of trouble yet. With Western Australia putting a cap on its highly popular solar tariff scheme and Queensland dumping a number of state renewable energy projects, the GBCA is calling on the rest of Australia to renew its commitment to the green sector by following NSW’s example.
“Other states including South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania have registered public sector projects, such as hospitals and schools, for Green Star ratings, and we call on the NSW Government to follow in these footsteps,” says Mellon.
NSW is stepping up and offering leadership where it is needed. However, the state government will be scrutinised intensely by those in the building industry who are not unfamiliar with broken green promises by the government.
By Emily D’Alterio