Posted by LNA Master Landscapers Association
on 4 May 2016
This year's Federal Budget was handed down on Tuesday and analysts are busy discussing the 'winners and losers' as a result of the changes announced.
In news affecting the landscaping industry, it is encouraging to see that the Turnbull government has invested in developing infrastructure and city planning, urban forests and clean energy.
Cities and infrastructure were a major priority in this budget with new funding announced for urban rail projects totalling $3.4 billion dollars and a further $4.6 million allocated to expanding the Cities Taskforce charged with implementing the government's building agenda. This news has been applauded by Romilly Madew, the CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) with the proviso that these projects must meet best practice benchmarks for sustainability to ensure true value for money for the Australian populace into the future.
New funding for urban forestry was also announced with plans to plant 20 million new native trees by the year 2020 and a further $20 million heralded for inclusion in the 2017 budget to continue this work. This brings the total for native tree regeneration to $70 million over two years. Whilst this is also a move welcomed by the GBCA, Ms Madew was disappointed that this green initiative was so limited in focus. Instead of merely offering tree planting, the GBCA would like to see additional works in areas such as boosting biodiversity and building more resilient cities to ensure the future of the Australian environment.
Treasurer Scott Morrison also reiterated the Government's commitment to retaining both the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), coupled with a further $1 billion investment for the Clean Energy Innovation Fund. This stance provides a much needed boost in confidence and certainty for the clean energy sector but unfortunately this was not enhanced with any initiatives squarely aimed at meeting Australian's targets for a reduction in carbon emissions, such as industry incentives.
Overall, this budget offers some vital funding and plans for environmental sustainability in the Australian landscape but could definitely be improved with the application of a wider scope, particularly with the missed opportunity to increase funding for environmentally sustainable elements in cities specifically. The LNA particularly looks forward to the benefits of the increased urban forestry efforts and a renewed focus on the development of Australian cities. We are eager to contribute in the critical role of ensuring that the Government's building plans are implemented in a sustainable and environmentally sound fashion.
Portions of this article have been summarised from a media release published by the Green Building Council of Austalian (GBCA). To read the full media release you can click here.