Taking advantage of evolving government policy
Dr Andrew Maddocks
The Federal Government’s Direct Action Policy is up and running. Its centrepiece, the Emissions Reduction Fund, is a $2.55 billion dollar fund set up to “support Australian businesses and households to take practical, direct action to reduce emissions and improve the environment.”
The objective of the fund is to help achieve Australia’s emissions reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, by supporting business to become more productive and more energy efficient.
A range of methods exist to reduce the carbon footprint of an organisation, from the replacement of outdated machinery to the inclusion of renewables in the energy mix. Our team has assisted the Government by advising on policy framework and by helping develop methodologies for measuring and calculating emissions abatement that may be implemented by businesses, and is now helping businesses to participate in the scheme.
The first reverse auction for the funding of emissions reduction projects was held in April this year, and the average price paid by the Government was $13.95 per tonne of abatement.
Methodologies have been developed for energy efficiency projects that were not available under the Carbon Farming Initiative. Implementation of energy efficiency projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund can provide an additional short term financial benefit while providing longer term energy cost savings.
A long term option for both income generation and the preservation of land with high biodiversity value is through the NSW Government’s Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme.
This scheme can provide up-front funding and then ongoing regular payments for the maintenance of bio-certified land.
It can provide income to assist in the maintenance and improvement of land to maintain or improve biodiversity and help reverse or slow the demise of threatened species. Our ecology group provides advice, assesses land for biocertification and helps to manage the process.