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Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 603


Senator CAMERON (New South Wales) (12:43): I rise in support of this legislation. Efforts to improve energy efficiency continue to be the fastest and cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Australians have embraced their responsibility to reduce energy consumption at home; however, there are further efficiencies to be realised in our workplaces. The Commercial Building Disclosure—CBD—scheme was initiated by the Labor government in 2010. It requires owners and operators of large commercial office buildings to audit the energy efficiency of their buildings and disclose this information to potential purchasers and leasers.

This information empowers the business community to make concerted decisions about their energy consumption, as well as better understand their associated ongoing costs. Accounts show that the commercial building sector's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is at 10 per cent of Australia's total emissions, and this figure is rising. This source of emissions must be addressed as part of our broader strategy to reduce Australia's contribution to global climate change.

I note that this amendment bill addresses issues that have been raised by key stakeholders in an attempt to reduce red tape in regard to complying with the existing legislation. However, I also know that stakeholders harbour concerns regarding this government's commitment to energy efficiency measures into the future. I call on the government to show leadership in supporting Australians to improve energy efficiency so that our community and our economy can take advantage of the opportunities that these efforts create. But Labor supports this bill.