Budget 2019 — focus on emission reduction
The Morrison Government has delivered a pre-election 2019-20 federal Budget designed to put money in the hands of many voters but how do the sustainability initiatives stack up?
According to the government’s Budget report, Australia is on track to meet its 2030 target to reduce emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels. Some of the Budget’s sustainability initiatives include:
- $3.5 billion in a Climate Solutions package to help ensure Australia meets its emissions target under the Paris Agreement, including $50m in grants for business energy efficiency projects.
- A $2 billion Climate Solutions Fund will build on the success of the Emissions Reduction Fund. This is designed to boost agricultural productivity, support jobs for Indigenous communities and improve biodiversity and water quality, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- $1.4 billion over six years in equity funding for the Snowy 2.0 project.
- Transport infrastructure investment of $100 billion over the next decade to ease congestion including: $2 billion from 2021–22 for the delivery of fast rail from Melbourne to Geelong; and a new National Electric Vehicle Strategy to transition to new vehicle technology and infrastructure.
- $137 million for Practical Environment Restoration to support Australia’s natural environment. This includes a $100 million Environment Restoration Fund to help protect Australia’s threatened species, restore the coasts and waterways and take practical action on waste and recycling.
- $50.4 million to support feasibility studies into micro‑grids which would harness distributed generation to provide secure, reliable and affordable power to regional and remote communities.
Despite a welcome injection of funds for infrastructure, the Budget falls short on new initiatives to support emissions reductions, according to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).
“We welcome the increased infrastructure funding announced tonight including the focus on reducing congestion, connecting our regional centres and promoting fast rail,” said Jonathan Cartledge from GBCA.
“Given the paramount importance of leveraging our cities and regions to deal with the challenges of population growth and climate change, we would have liked to see additional funds earmarked for City Deals, and sooner, but look forward to supporting the implementation of those already announced.
“We note the government’s investment of $79.2 million over six years for new energy efficiency measures.
“While improving the energy efficiency of our appliances is important, the opportunity to realise significant savings through support for a low emissions built environment will help ease the transition to a low carbon future across the economy.”
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