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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 223..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

I note that the building industry, and in particular the Housing Industry Association, have come out today and criticised me. Of course, this is an organisation that believes it should be left to the market to decide how best to manage energy consumption in buildings. The Housing Industry Association is on the record as saying that it does not support mandatory standards and believes that it should be left to the market to decide how builders should respond to demands for managing energy efficiency. This is not a view that I or the government support. It is particularly telling that on Kyoto day, which is today, we see the Housing Industry Association opposing measures that will improve the energy efficiency of dwellings.

What does a five-star rating mean? It means that, when you go home in the evening of a hot day, your house is going to be cooler than it would be if it was a four-star energy rated dwelling. It means that your energy bill will be lower. It means that your energy consumption will be lower. What is the problem with that sort of measurement? It is a positive and important step forward.

The housing association have claimed that cost is the reason why this should not happen. But that is simply a smokescreen for their philosophical position that they do not support any mandatory standards when it comes to building design in terms of energy consumption. The Australian Building Codes Board have investigated this issue comprehensively. Their research shows that the average cost to ACT householders of moving from a four to a five-star energy rating will be approximately $500 at the time of construction and that this is paid back with an average saving on your energy bill of about $80 per year. So it is very clear that there are real benefits to householders.

At the same time as looking at this issue, the government has also been investigating the possibility of introducing the new New South Wales building sustainability index, BASIX. I have announced today that the government will not be proceeding with this system at this stage, because the introduction of the five-star energy efficiency rating and the new targets that the government has also outlined through the new water sensitive urban design guidelines effectively allow the ACT to achieve the same outcomes in water and energy savings as would be achieved if we were to adopt the BASIX scheme. So we are getting the same outcomes but without the same level of administration that would come with BASIX.

Finally, I just want to flag to members that the government will also be considering the introduction of a mandatory green star environmental rating system for commercial buildings, using the Green Building Council of Australia's green star methodology. However, we need to do this in conjunction with the Green Building Council of Australia, and we are working with them on that matter right now. These are important steps forward to achieve greater energy efficiency and to tackle climate change in the built form in our community.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, what is the government doing in relation to its commitment on a minimum standard for water efficiency?

MR CORBELL: Again, I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. Water is the other side of this equation. The new guidelines that I have announced, which will be out for public


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