The Andrews Labor Government has today announced that it will introduce legislation to attract Victorian businesses to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their buildings.
The Local Government Legislation Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill 2015, announced at the Monash Training and Seminar Centre in Oakleigh, provides for council-rates based financing to help businesses efficiently fund building works which improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and cut water use.
Under an Environmental Upgrade Agreement (EUA), lenders provide finance to a building owner for environmental upgrades, with the local council then collecting the repayments through its rates system and passing them on to the lender.
This means that building owners and tenants pay back the loan at the same time that they are benefiting from the lower costs of a more resource efficient building. If ownership or tenancy rights change, the new owners take up the loan and pay it through their rates. Without this system businesses have a disincentive to invest in efficiency because they may move premises before paying off the loan.
By allowing the use of the council rates system, loans will also be more secure, allowing lenders to offer more attractive loan terms to businesses.
In Victoria, EUAs are currently only available to businesses in the City of Melbourne through the City of Melbourne Act 2001. The new legislation will expand the existing scheme to all Victorian councils.
The Labor Government also announced that it will be hosting an Energy Efficiency and Productivity Summit, which will showcase leadership in energy efficiency, bringing together global and local expertise.
The event, to be held at the Melbourne Convention Centre on 25 August 2015, will bring together manufacturers, energy efficiency businesses, the building and property sectors, energy retailers, environmental groups and energy consumers.
These initiatives reflect the Labor Government’s commitment to energy efficiency as a way to make energy more affordable, creating new jobs and moving to a low emissions economy.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy & Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio
“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to improving the efficiency of our commercial buildings, which will help businesses to reduce their energy, water and waste costs, and create more jobs.”
“Typically, many businesses face difficulty accessing finances for environmental upgrades. This scheme will make it easier for businesses to obtain to improve their buildings, reduce waste and cut water use.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins
“It is an innovative way to help local government facilitate the upgrade of buildings in their area to not only support the environment, but help reduce operating costs.”
Quote attributable to Member for Oakleigh, Steve Dimopoulos
“This new system will provide significant support to businesses across our community to become energy efficient.”