While we don’t have the resources to undertake campaigning at a federal level, we have advocated on a variety of national energy, water and other sustainability issues over the years, particularly in energy market reform.
Whichever party forms government after July 2, the ATA sees the following issues as critical for placing Australia on a more sustainable footing:
- A national price on carbon. Given the sustained increase in emissions from the electricity sector in particular since the repeal of the carbon tax, and the inability of the current 2020-2030 emissions reduction targets to respond to the urgency of climate change, it is clear that a strong, national price on carbon is needed.
- The expansion and extension of the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The ATA advocated directly to the Warburton RET Review Panel in 2014, opposing the reduction of the target. The RET needs to be returned at least to its previous 41 gigawatt hour target by 2020 and significantly increased by 2030. In addition, the scheme length (which currently ends in 2030) needs to be extended in order to provide greater certainty for investment in small and large-scale renewable energy in the decades to come. The ATA also supports the retention of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
- Mandatory disclosure. The energy and water efficiency of a home must be assessed and disclosed at the point of sale/lease to prospective buyers or renters. This will provide greater transparency of the efficiency of the existing housing market and in turn lead to the ability to implement Minimum Standards for existing homes (including rental properties), which can be increased over time in order to improve the performance of our existing building stock nationally.
- An increase in the building standards of new homes nationally to at least 7.5 stars, with a stronger compliance and auditing regime to ensure that thermal performance determined through the design process is actually achieved. The case for more efficient homes for economic and environmental reasons is now overwhelming and yet many new 6-star homes perform significantly worse than this once constructed. Energy-efficient buildings are healthier, more comfortable and resilient in a changing environment.
- Changes to the way National Energy Market (NEM) works to make it more suitable for increased renewable generation, encourage energy efficiency and end-user participation. The NEM is designed for the old paradigm of sale of energy from generators to passive consumers. There are structural and regulatory barriers to full incorporation of the range of energy-related services that the future grid will need – such as greater diversity of generation types, more distributed generation and contestable sale of energy or demand response back into the grid.
The ATA encourages everyone to look at the policies of their candidates to see where they stand on these issues and to contact them directly. We will continue to conduct research and advocate for reform on sustainability as well as inspiring others by showcasing how ATA members are working towards a zero net emissions future.