The possibility that the government Tax Breaks for Green Building program may not go ahead as planned is placing the green building sector in a state of turmoil. The imminent budget announcement is putting even more pressure on this sector as they wait it out to see if this billion-dollar tax break scheme will go ahead as promised.
The latest in a line of industry leaders to weigh in on the issue is the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) CEO David Parken.
“While we have good regulations for new buildings that improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, existing built stock is a sleeping giant and needs a total makeover,” he says. “If industry concerns are realised in Tuesday night’s budget announcement, it will be extremely disappointing.”
The AIA have long been supporters of the program and argue that its removal from the budget goes against Australia’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“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,” says Parken.
The argument of many of top green sector leaders is that the removal of the tax break program removes any kind of monetary incentive for industry members – from architects to those on the construction side – to implement energy-efficient practices and technologies in developments.
The possible cut has been labeled a ‘blow to the system’, one that would drastically reduce investment in green initiatives, slash green job generation and remove necessary supports put in place in order to cater to an industry about to wade into one of the world’s most expensive carbon taxes.
“The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was supportive of the Australian Government’s decision to put a price on pollution, because we understood it would be supported by a range of complementary measures to support energy and material efficiencies within the property and construction industry,” says GBCA Chief Executive Romilly Madew.
With many in the construction sector relying on the tax breaks, if the tax cuts are slashed, the government will have a green building sector that is in complete turmoil.