License article

No tax reprieve for older building refits

Green tax breaks intended to encourage retrofits to improve energy efficiency of older commercial buildings were dumped in last night’s Federal budget.

Funding for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency - created two years ago to roll-out energy and climate adaptation reforms - has also been slashed by $15.2 million.  

The Tax breaks for Green Buildings program, which would have delivered around $1 billion in tax breaks and an estimated 10,000 green jobs, were announced as part of the Gillard government’s climate change package during the 2010 election campaign. At the time, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the tax breaks would give

Australia ‘a head start on meeting its emission reduction targets.’’

But in last night’s budget papers, the government announced it would not proceed with the program.

‘‘The program would have driven significantly higher cost abatement than that delivered by the carbon price.

This measure is estimated to increase revenue by $390.0 million over the forward estimates period,’’ the budget papers said.

The tax breaks were to have covered 50 per cent of the cost of retrofitting commercial buildings, with the onus on building owners to demonstrate significant energy savings had been achieved. Commercial buildings account for 10 per of Australia’s greenhouse emissions, chiefly from electricity consumption for heating, lighting and coolings.

According to the the recent ACT State of Environment report, Canberra’s commercial buildings are the city’s single biggest source of emissions.