Australian stimulus could be more sustainable.

The stimulus package announced by Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has missed opportunities to simultaneously improve Australia's sustainability in energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Western Australia's largest peak body for the sustainable energy sector.

The stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has missed opportunities to simultaneously improve Australia's sustainability in energy use and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Western Australia's largest peak body for enterprises across the sustainable energy sector.


"The Rudd Government's cash injections into the economy could have achieved double value from that expenditure directed to more support for energy efficiency measures and deploying renewable energy in households and businesses," says Dr Ray Wills, Chief Executive of WA SEA.

"Targeted measures to improve energy efficiency in households are perpetual tax cuts that help now and increase in value with growing energy bills even when you don't have an income," says Dr Wills.

"And for businesses, measures to improve energy efficiency will reduce costs and contribute to a better bottom line, which will help profits, improve business confidence, and keep people in jobs."

"The slowdown in the economy is also an ideal time to roll out incentives to reduce exposure to rising energy prices in advance of the emissions and supports nation-building infrastructure projects in the sustainable energy sector to create employment in new, sustainable projects across Australia," says Dr Wills.

Below are the same expenditure commitments targeted to deliver more sustainable outcomes:

Government commitment
- $12.7 billion for immediate one-off payments to working families
Equivalent sustainable investment
- $12.7 billion for immediate one-off payments to working families targeted for the purchase of energy efficient appliances to replace inefficient ones.

Government commitment
- $14.7 billion to be invested in school infrastructure and maintenance and bringing forward funding for trade training centres
Equivalent sustainable investment
- $14.7 billion to be invested in school infrastructure to refit for energy efficiency of buildings and bringing forward funding for trade training centres

Government commitment
- $6.6 billion to increase the national stock of public and community housing by about 20,000
Equivalent sustainable investment
$6.6 billion to increase the national stock with green public and community housing that offers more affordable, sustainable living

Government commitment
- $3.9 billion to provide free insulation to 2.7 million homes and solar hot water rebates;
Equivalent sustainable investment
- unchanged

Government commitment
- $890 million to fix regional roads and blackspots, to install railway boom gates and for regional and local government infrastructure;
Equivalent sustainable investment
- $890 million to fix regional roads and blackspots, to install railway boom gates (traffic accidents are not sustainable) - and for regional and local government to build more sustainable infrastructure including regionally distributed renewable energy

Government commitment
- $2.7 billion small and general business tax break to provide deductions for some equipment purchases before the end of June 2009.
Equivalent sustainable investment
- $2.7 billion business tax break to provide accelerated depreciation for upgrades to energy efficient equipment purchases for Australian industry before the end of June 2009.


WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) Media Release - 3 February 2009

Media Contact:
Dr Ray Wills 0430 365 607

Editors notes:
1. The Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA) is a chamber of businesses that are providing the commercial solution to climate change through their products and services, or that simply aspire to be more sustainable in their own energy use. WA SEA is supported by a growing membership of more than 210 industry members that includes the majority of the key energy players in Western Australia. www.wasea.com.au.

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